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To hear an Important message from Justice O'Connor,
Distinguished Speakers Series
INSPIRING GLOBAL LEADER
Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga
On October 14th, the former President of Latvia, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, delivered a stirring address at our Distinguished Speakers Series Luncheon, held at the Arizona Biltmore. During her U.S. visit, she most recently spoke at Harvard and Stanford universities before coming to Phoenix.
She was introduced by Ambassador Barbara Barrett, who noted her remarkable biography. Born in Riga, the Latvian capital, in December 1937, Europe was immersed in the conflict of World War II, with Latvia finding itself occupied by the Soviet Union, then by Nazi Germany, then again by the USSR. President Freiberga lived her childhood in the difficult conditions of German refugee camps. Later moving to Canada, she became a distinguished academician, followed by a meteoric rise to leadership for her native Baltic nation, Latvia.
She played a key role in Latvia’s NATO membership and its ascension to the European Union. During her presidency, Dr. Vike-Freiberga was a Member of the Council of Women World Leaders and was a Special Envoy to the Secretary General on United Nations reform, as well as an official candidate for UN Secretary General in 2006. President Freiberga is the current president of Club de Madrid, which includes nearly 100 former heads of state, presidents and prime ministers.
President Freiberga provided keen insight into world affairs and a deep knowledge on Russia and the Ukraine.
Following her address, Ambassador Kurt Volker of the McCain Institute moderated the Q&A session which was well received by the inspired audience. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor provided closing remarks, expressing appreciation to everyone in attendance.
O’Connor House thanks its luncheon sponsors Jerry Hirsch and the Lodestar Foundation, Ambassador Barbara Barrett and Dr. Craig Barrett, Francis Najafi, Joe Anderson, the Arizona Community Foundation and Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations for their support.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the recent ISSUES & ANSWERS FORUM in collaboration with
To listen to the full event please click here.
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Oral History Project:
Call For Memories
Do you have a memory, interesting anecdote or item that could be included in the Sandra Day O'Connor Oral History Project? Did your personal or professional path cross that of Justice O’Connor? Every memory is welcome and individuals are invited to contact O’Connor House with their stories or information via email at email@example.com.
O'Connor House is seeking additional funding necessary for the Sandra Day O'Connor Oral History Project. To donate please click HERE or to receive more information.
What is O'CONNOR HOUSE?
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"My hope is to
re-create a place that will be a center for problem-solving and for bringing together groups with divergent views."
Society, at all levels, has a need to work together to solve the many challenges facing our state and nation.
What is O'Connor House?
Watch The Video HERE
In the 25 years that John and I lived in our adobe house, we hosted many events – for friends, colleagues, foreign visitors, legislators , members of Congress, and other distinguished individuals. We brought people together from both sides of the aisle (R-D) and from other perspectives to share a home-cooked meal and good conversation, which resulted in a better chance of reaching consensus.
We all know that it's easier to reach agreement with friends—and we make friends through social contacts and shared experiences. When you become better acquainted and enjoy each other's company, you're less apt to be partisan and at odds when you are back at work [in Washington, in the state legislature, in town council meeting or in other venues where people come together to participate in democracy].
I know that it is possible for people to sit down together and engage in cooperative problem solving.
This is what I want O'Connor House to stand for. We can do it.
The possibilities are endless."
- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor