Coming back to Latvia after living abroad can be challenging. Your values and perspectives change, and suddenly you do not fit in your own country. Feeling unwelcome, you leave again, along with your knowledge which could help Latvia catch up with older democracies in socioeconomic development. To counter this trend, we foster communities for young returnee professionals in Latvia through monthly story nights, networking events, sociopolitical initiatives, and social media.
Latvia: Riga, Liepaja, Cesis, Daugavpils, Valmiera
"With Global Experience in Latvia" creates communities across professions, from scientists to artists based on their shared global experience. Since 2004, Latvia has lost about 15% of its workforce, mostly graduates. Our growing communities will help reverse the brain drain and strengthen Latvia.
Latvia will have self-organizing communities of several hundred remigrant professionals in 5 cities. Through their success stories, they will encourage other professionals to return and offer global expertise in local and national affairs, from municipal zoning laws to consulting the Parliament.
Our innovation is to create communities of ex-expats, i.e. Latvians who, because of their global experience, often feel like expats in their own country.
In each town, we will locate 20-30 active global professionals who have managed to move back successfully and set up monthly meetups where they can share their stories, followed by networking. We will also create an online community on Facebook and help create project teams to start local and national government initiatives based.
In 2016, I came back to Latvia after 9 years abroad, and I want to help bring other young professionals back so that we can help our country develop. Latvia is facing an immense demographic crisis, and the globally experienced people can make the country globally competitive and more democratic.
We have three target groups: 1) Latvian professionals who have returned to Latvia after studying and working abroad; and 2) Latvian professionals living abroad but seeking ways to return to Latvia; 3) their partners and spouses who might be new to Latvia and thus need a community.
Has something like this been done in other European countries? Where are the most successful models to learn from? What are the pitfalls?