As part of her visit to the Stanford campus, former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga visited the Hoover Institution Library and Archives on May 15, 2008, where she was shown items connected to the history of her country. Dr. Vike-Freiberga, being keenly interested in the Latvian archival materials, was able to provide additional information to the archives’ staff about their significance. Among the materials she was shown were two ornate albums given by grateful Latvians in 1919 to Thomas J. Orbison, chief of the Riga mission of the American Relief Administration, an organization headed by Herbert Hoover that delivered food and other relief supplies to destitute areas of Europe and Russia following World War I.
Dr. Vike-Freiberga was president of her country for eight years (1999–2007), during which time Latvia joined both NATO and the European Union. Before attaining her native Latvia’s highest office, she had a long and distinguished career as a clinical psychologist and academician in Canada. Before her visit to the library and archives, she gave a seminar at Stanford on the future of relations between the European Union and the United States under the auspices of the Forum on Contemporary Europe.