The Evaluation Committee was made up of the representatives of Partners, representatives from Latvian civil society and winners from last year.

Nominees were evaluated by the following jury:

Kristīne Zonberga, Director of the Civic Alliance - Latvia

Director of Civic Alliance – Latvia, has 7 years experience in the field of research and more than 5 years working experience in CSOs sector. Kristine represents and advocates the interests of civil society in common at local and national level, ensures monitoring of the quality of civil participation and practices in public administration, as well as provides consultations and trainings in the field of legal matters of CSOs and organizational management and civil participation. Author of the publications about the issues of public administration and civil participation.  Has a master’s degree in Public administration and bachelor degree in political science.


Jon Fer, U.S. Embassy Riga

Jon Fer is a Regional Public Engagement Specialist managing American Cultural Centers in Russia, Poland, Belarus, and the Baltic countries.  Previously he served in New Delhi, Managua, Washington, and Moscow.  He is from San Pedro, California.

 Māra Sīmane, Consultant of Cross Sectoral Coordination Center

Māra Sīmane works at the Cross Sectoral Coordination Center under the Prime Minister with the National Development Plan 2014-2020, especially on strengthening human securitability. She is the Lead Author of the Latvian Human Development Report on Human Security that won the UN award in 2004 for  "Excellence in Human Development Innovations", and authored Latvia's first Millenium Development Goals Report.  From 2006-2011 she also headed the Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (LAPAS), an umbrella organization for Latvian NGOs engaged indevelopment cooperation and development education.

Hamid Ladjevardi, Chairman of American Baltic Investments

Hamid Ladjevardi is a board member of the non-profit organizations, Latvian Foster Family Association and   Kids First Fund that deal with the welfare of children. Prior to this, he was co-founder and manager of the general partner of Baltic Fund 1, L.P., the first and longest running private equity fund in the Baltics, which was established in 1994. He has been actively involved in investment projects in the Baltic States since late 1991. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Hamid Ladjevardi received Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics and political science and then went on to receive his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Hamid Ladjevardi is Co-Chairman of the U.S.-Baltic Foundation that promotes democracy, free markets, investments, and cultural exchange with the Baltic States.


Marika Ģederte, International Cosmetology College Chairman of the Board

Founder of the International Cosmetology College, "Patroness of the Society for Child Palliative Care". Winner of the "Human Development Award" 2018. Marika received an award for "Social Responsibility". With the help of Marika, money was collected for the "Angel Camp" for families with incurably ill children and their family members. Tennis charity tournaments have also been organized with the aim of attracting donations to the Children's Palliative Care Society. She has been awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship (Rotary International, 2016) award.

 Liene Dambina, Chairman of the Board of the Children's Hospital Foundation

Liene Dambina has been running the Children's Hospital Foundation for more than 10 years, and during this time the Foundation has become the most important NGO in child health care in Latvia. Liene has managed to implement significant and innovative projects by establishing the first Autism Cabinet in Latvia, a modern prevention programme for teens, as well as implementing the Early Childhood Outpatient Care Program. An important contribution has also been made to the development of the Children's Hospital, where the Parents' House, a new department of Haemato Oncology has been built, a playground for children with special needs has been created and many more valuable projects have been implemented.


Liga Smildzina-Bertulsone, Executive Director and Member of the Board The American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia 

Liga has spent 20 years in working in the non-profit sector and the last 12 years she has been serving as an Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce, the leading foreign chamber of commerce in Latvia. Her core competencies include effective leadership in the non-profit sector such as strategic planning, advocacy, management of programs, communications and HR. Liga has been instrumental in implementing the Human Development Award of Latvia in 2014 which she continues to support. Believing in giving back to the community, she regularly volunteers at charities with a focus on health, welfare and educational needs of children and youth, and promotion of culture and arts of Latvia.

Ilze Paleja, Director of SOS Children's Villages Latvia

Ilze Paleja has been the leader of SOS Children's Villages for 12 years. During these years, the association has become one of the leading non-governmental organizations in the care of the family model for children left without parental care, which also provides support to foster families, guardians and adopters. Under her leadership, the association has developed innovative preventive and social support services for families with children in several regions of Latvia, as well as actively involved in the protection of children's interests in cooperation with state institutions and other NGOs. Ilze has a master's degree in social sciences in psychology and education in family systemic therapy, has founded and is active in professional associations of psychologists.

Agnese Kviese, member of the board of the center "Brīnumiņš"

Agnese Kviese established and now is the board member of the center "Brīnumiņa". Her heart call is to support children and their parents. Her center has been run for 17 years and its focus is on providing more support for everyone with a family of children with special needs. Center "Brīnumiņš" operates in Talsi and every center employee love, accept and help every visitor of "Brīnumiņš". 
  Solveiga Medne, RTU Secondary School of Engineering, board member, director

Solveiga Medne has invested outstanding organizational work in the establishment of Riga Technical university Engineering High School (EHS)
, ensuring sustainable operations, is a member of the board and the school director. Under her leadership, a high-quality educational process is organized and implemented, the school is the best in the group of small schools. Solveiga Medne has made a significant personal contribution to the pre-training of future engineers, ensuring in-depth acquisition of exact subjects, developing young people's creativity, critical thinking, argumentation skills, ensuring quality team leadership. Her work has been repeatedly highly praised by both the Riga Technical university management and the Ministry of Education and Science.