General awareness of the topic of intercultural dialogue in Latvia is limited. Although Latvian society is shaped by a wide variety of cultures (about 150 different nationalities live in Latvia), there is a lack of understanding and knowledge between groups, which may stimulate further collective prejudices and stereotypes.
Cultural rights of national minorities are supported by the Constitution (see chapter 2.2.). In 2005, the Parliament ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe. The Ministry of Culture provides some financial assistance to cultural minority associations.
Meanwhile, in cultural policy documents, interculturalism is mainly understood as transnational collaboration, participation in networking and international co-operation instead of developing intercultural dialogue within the country. Although public policy documents include the principles of intercultural dialogue and stress the need for a dialogue, understanding and diversity on a political level, mainstream discourse supports the idea that the state has to strengthen national identity through policy measures. Integration is based on the official language (Latvian) that is stipulated in several documents, including the Official Language Law (2000) and the Electronic Mass Media Law (2010). Latvian language courses are organised by several public institutions, namely Latvian Language Agency being the most important operator in this respect. Other stakeholders are the Society Integration Foundation and the State Employment Agency of Latvia.
Since 2011, the Ministry of Culture is responsible for integration. In 2011, Guidelines of National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy were adopted.
Through research, publications and debate, part of the public and media discourse promotes interculturalism as a future strategy for the development in Latvia. A major debate concerns bilingual education. In 2004, an important change was that more lessons were taught in the Latvian language at Russian schools, which provoked opposition in the Russian speaking community. In 2018, the Parliament amended the Education Law (1998) and the General Education Law (1999) introducing Latvian language as the only instruction language in the secondary schools in Latvia.
At present, the national policy towards intercultural dialogue and promotion of tolerance is being implemented by various state and local authorities and NGOs active in the field of human rights and diversity. (See also http://www.integration.lv/en)