Dr Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga is President of the Club de Madrid and the former President of Latvia (1999–2007). She was instrumental in achieving EU and NATO membership for Latvia and was Special Envoy on UN reform. She was Vice-Chair of the Reflection Group on the long-term future of Europe, and chaired the high-level group on freedom and pluralism of media in the EU in 2011–12. She is currently a member of two high-level groups on European security and defence.
Born in Riga, she started her schooling in refugee camps in Germany, and then lived in Morocco and Canada, obtaining a PhD at McGill University. After a distinguished career as Professor of psychology at the University of Montreal, she returned to her native country in 1998 to head the Latvian Institute. She a member of 31 international organizations, has published extensively and is much in demand as speaker.