Dear Friends,
By now you probably know about the Baltic American Freedom League’s Awards Banquet next week, Saturday April 24. I hope I will see you there.

We have held these banquets for 22 years. The reason for hosting the banquets, besides to have a fun event, is to recognize and to honor those persons and organizations that have stood beside us and vigorously supported the aspirations of the Baltic people. Today, we honor those who supported Baltic accession into NATO, the most successful military alliance in history.

NATO membership has been one of the main goals of the Baltic American Freedom League since the Baltic nations regained their independence. It is a great achievement for each of our nations–Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and also the United States of America. A long and cherished dream has finally come true. With the help of the United States, the Baltic nations have rejoined the great Euro-American family. And no one has done more to reach this goal than the person we will honor with the Baltic Freedom Award–Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Mr. Powell is a man who embodies the ideals of freedom, democracy and security for every nation no matter how small and no matter who covets them. Without Secretary Powell’s staunch support Baltic membership in NATO would not have been possible.

Because of scheduling conflicts and the world situation, Secretary Powell will not be able to attend our banquet. His Award will be accepted by Assistant Deputy Secretary for European and Euroasian Affairs Ms. Heather A. Conley.

Ms. Conley, our keynote speaker, is a member of the Senior Executive Service. She assumed her duties in September 2001. Prior to her appointment at the State Department, Ms. Conley served as a Senior Associate with the international consulting firm Armitage Associates. Prior to joining Armitage Associates, Ms. Conley served for over three years in several capacities as a foreign affairs officer in the Department of State.

Others to be recognized at our banquet for their work on behalf of the Baltic nations are Honorary Counsul General for Lithuania Vytautas Cekanauskas, Honorary Consul for Estonia Jaak Treiman, Honorary Counsul for Latvia Alfreds Raisters and Cochairmen of the California Ethnic Leadership Council Dr. Frank De Balogh and Dr. Olgierd Klejnot.

Entertainment will be provided by concert pianist Aukse Jackunaite and by the Los Angeles Lithuanian School Girls Choir. Ms. Aukse is a classical pianist and has performed in numerous piano recitals. She is a graduate of Klaipeda Music Academy.

The event will be held at the Latvian Community Center, 1955 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles on Saturday, April 24, 2004. The schedule calls for a no host cocktail reception at 5:00 p.m.. Ms Conley will be at the reception and you will have a chance to meet and chat with her. Seating for the dinner will be promptly at 5:45 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. Barring any unforseen catastrophies, we will start the event on time. The banquet will be over by nine o’oclock.
The admission is $40 per person, for full time students the admission is $25. Reservations are necessary. They should be received no later than April 20.

For further information, reservations and seating arrangements call: Nemyra Enck at (310) 231-0018, Maryte Sepikas at (818) 782-1248, Teodor Liliensteins at (323) 463-1362, Heino Nurmberg at (760) 775-9160 or Valdis Pavlovskis at (323) 255-4215. We would prefer that you mail your checks and reservation slips to BAFL, PO Box 65056, Los Angeles, CA 90065, so that they are received prior to April 20.

Again, I cordially invite you to join us at the Latvian House on April 24th and raise your glasses in a toast to this monumental and triumphal moment and to the heroes who made it possible.

See You at the Celebration,

Valdis V. Pavlovskis