The University of Latvia named at that time "The Latvian Higher School" was founded on September 28, 1919 on the basis of the former Riga Polytechnic (founded in 1862). In 1923 this school received its now resumed name - the University of Latvia (Universitas Latviensis).
In the period between 1919 and 1940 the University of Latvia was the greatest centre of higher education, science and culture in Latvia. The former building of Riga Polytechnic in 19 Raina boulevard serves as the symbol of the University even nowadays.
In the pre-war years it was possible to gain higher academic education not only at the University of Latvia but also at the Conservatoire of Latvia and Academy of Arts. The University of Latvia is the first of classical universities in the history of Latvia and follows the slogan "Scientiae et Patriae".
In the course of time such higher educational establishments as Latvian University of Agriculture, Latvian Academy of Medicine, Riga Technical University separated from the University of Latvia and became well-known centres of education and research.
With Latvia regaining independence the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia confirmed the Constitution of the University of Latvia on September 18, 1991. It stated that the Higher School is "a state establishment of academic education, science and culture which serves the needs of Latvia and people".
Alongside with the Constitution the flag, the hymn, the University's emblem, the Rector's chain and the official garments for the Rector, Vice-Rector and deans were renewed as attributes of the University of Latvia.
The University of Latvia pays great attention to the development of international collaboration in order to promote international identification and to strengthen good reputation.
The University of Latvia has been always active in international collaboration. Nowadays the objective is to focus on the content and quality of international cooperation in order to make internationalization a balanced element of education and research.
The internationalization processes take place in the following areas:
bilateral cooperation agreements (with 76 universities in 29 countries);
membership in the international university organizations and networks;
participation in international educational and research programmes and projects;
exchanges of students and teachers;
international cooperation on the faculty, institute, department and individual levels.
By participating in international university organizations and active membership in networks such as EUA (The European University Association), UNICA (Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe), BSRUN (Baltic Sea Region Universities Network), CAMPUS EUROPAE, UTRECHT Network the University of Latvia strives to intensify different types of exchanges and to widen possibilities for internationalization of studies and research.
Active participation within bilateral partnership agreements and European programmes has promoted wide cooperation activities within ERASMUS programme. The number of agreements with European partner universities has grown tremendously within last 5 years anticipating more intensive exchanges of students and teachers. At present the University of Latvia has signed more than 350 agreements with 235 institutions in 30 European countries. The University of Latvia has developed in cooperation with partner universities and successfully carried out two Intensive Programmes in the fields of “History” and “Education”.
The University of Latvia has become an attractive place to study both for full time and exchange international students. The number of available programmes and courses on English increase every year. We are glad that the faculties are active in involving visiting professors within the study process.
Cooperation in research has been also very active and productive. Participation in the 5th and 6th RTD Framework Programmes, EU, UNESCO, NATO, Nordic, Volkswagen Fund projects has ensured unity of studies and research, has allowed to develop Centres of Excellence, e.g.: UNESCO Biomedical Research and Study Centre, EU Solid State Physics Institute, EU Institute of Physics and EU Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy, UNESCO department at Institute for Environmental Studies and Management, Jean Monnet Chair.
Over recent years the increased emphasis has been placed on institutional and departmental management. Several projects have given a lot of ideas for further restructuring of educational administration and a new institutional administrative structure.