Dr Valdis Zatlers
President of the Republic of Latvia
Dr Valdis Zatlers was elected as a President of Latvia in 2007 for one term until 2011.
During late '80s and early '90s he was an active member of the Popular Front of Latvia – a political organisation that led to regaining the independence of Latvia. He also served as a member of its council. Dr Zatlers also took part in the meeting of the three national movements of the Baltic states that later gathered people for the history changing act – The Baltic Way.
His educational background includes graduating from the Riga Institute of Medicine in 1979 as well as professional orthopaedic training at Yale and Syracuse Universities in 1991. After completing his medical studies, Dr Zatlers became traumatologist-orthopaedist (1979-1985). Dr Zatlers was also employed as a doctor in Chernobyl following the failure of the nuclear power plant in 1986.
Later, his career in medicine led to him to a wider opportunities and leadership roles, including serving as Head of the Traumatology Department (1985-94) at 2nd Hospital of Riga, Director and Chairman of the Board of the State Hospital of Traumatology and Orthopaedics (1994-2007), and President of the Association of Traumatologists and Orthopaedists in Latvia (2003-2008). This was followed by becoming the President of Latvia in 2007.
After the presidency Dr Zatlers formed a political party and ministered as deputy in Saeima (Parliament of Latvia) where he served on and chaired National Security Committee. His active years ended in 2014.
After retiring, Dr Zatlers began working on his first book Kas Es Esmu (Who I Am), which was first published in March, 2015 and has been printed in both Latvian and Russian.
Awards: Commander of the Order of Three Stars; the Order of Viesturs, First Class; and the Cross of Recognition, First Class. In 1993, Dr Zatlers received the prize from the International Arthroscopy Association for the largest contribution to the development of arthroscopy in emerging countries.
He remains active both locally and internationally.