Speaker BIO

Minister Artis Pabriks is the current Minister for Defense and Deputy Prime Minister of Latvia. Previously, he held positions as the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Defense, and was a member of the European Parliament.

He holds a degree in history from the University of Latvia (1992) and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Aarhus, Denmark (1996). After finishing his Ph.D., he became the first rector of the Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, a newly founded regional college located in Valmiera, Latvia. Later on, Dr. Artis Pabriks held the position of associate professor at Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration. 

During his academic career, his research interests were focused mainly on security policy, multiculturalism, nationalism, ethnic policy, ideologies, gender issues, and human rights. He has worked also as a policy analyst and consultant in several NGOs. He has co-authored “Latvia: Challenge of Change” (2001), which was subsequently re-published together with volumes on Lithuania and Estonia under the title “The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania” (2002).

Minister Pabriks joined politics as one of the founding members of Tautas Partija (People’s Party) in 1998 and became a member of Saeima, the Latvian Parliament in March 2004. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from July 2004 to October 2007. He was one of the founding members of the Party Society for Political Change in September 2008.

Pabriks was elected to the European Parliament at the European election in 2014. During his four-year Parliamentary service, Dr. Artis Pabriks was a member of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs. He was responsible for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU, and the reform of FRONTEX. 

In 2015, news media reported that Pabriks was included on a Russian blacklist of prominent people from the European Union who are not allowed to enter the country.

In June 2018, Pabriks left the Unity party and joined the liberal movement Development/For!. He was nominated as the prime ministerial candidate of this electoral alliance and was elected a member of the Saeima in the 2018 Parliamentary election. Since January 2019, he serves as Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš’s cabinet.