Harita Tohme is the Co-Founder and current Chairwoman of Peace Ambassadors for Iraq (PAFI) and a prominent Latvian citizen. She has dedicated her life to enacting change in the world and bringing people together through honest dialogue and meaningful transactions. As such, her life reads as a uniquely Latvian story.
The daughter of acclaimed Latvian composer, Aleksandrs Kublinskis, Harita was raised amongst the arts from a very early age. From the age of six, she showed a talent and ability for performing as she advanced up through the ranks of Latvian figure skating. By the age of sixteen she reached the pinnacle of the sport in Latvia by being selected for the national figure skating team. After that point, however, due to the harsh realities of life under the Soviet Union, Harita began to pursue educational opportunities in the hopes of securing a brighter future for herself and her family.
After graduating from Latvian National University in 1988 with a degree in English Teaching and Philology, Harita began working to bring investment and jobs to Latvia for business relations in the aluminum exporting company Mono-AM. After working for Mono-AM for two years, Harita then moved on to the Riga Business Center, were she worked with business people and entrepreneurs from the West who were looking into investment opportunities in Latvia. At Riga Business Center, Harita provided a wide-range of business services which were lacking in Latvia at the time.
Harita’s tenure at the Riga Business Center coincided with an historic moment in Latvia’s history. As political and social reforms were taking place throughout the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, the Latvian parliament declared itself an independent state on 4 May 1990. Moscow, however, did not recognize such a declaration and maintained occupation of Latvia through 1991. By August of 1991, telecommunications had been severed from city, but the Riga Business Center had one of the only working telex machines capable of transmitting messages outside of Latvia. Harita began working with journalists and others in sending messages on what was taking place in Riga to a number of news organizations.
Continuing her involvement in business and entrepreneurial affairs, Harita transitioned into operating a number of her own businesses for a decade, employing many Latvians.
In 2000, she met her current husband Johnny Tohme, a Lebanese businessman with whom she operated a successful Lebanese restaurant located on the Latvian coast of Jurmala. Through her husband she began her appreciation of Middle Eastern culture and developed an affinity for the region. From 2009 to 2010, the family moved to experience life in Beirut, Lebanon.
The idea of PAFI was born in Beirut as Johnny and Harita came in contact with Sheikh Jamal al-Dhari who was searching for a way to bring attention to the plight of Iraqi’s during the Iraq War and its aftermath.
Due to Latvia’s then upcoming Presidency of the European Union, Harita founded PAFI with Sheikh Jamal al-Dhari in 2014.
Harita believes that because Latvia is not weighed down with past mistakes in the Middle East, it is the most suitable location for the launching point for Jamal’s message and the PAFI organization.
Harita has devoted her time to realizing the positive role Latvia can have in the world and what the world can help Latvia with. This has included the PAFI mission to bring peace to Iraq as well as working to increase investment and job opportunities in Latvia