U.S. Embassy and Baltic American Freedom Foundation Celebrate Awards of Fulbright, Humphrey, Benjamin Franklin, SUSI, and BAFF

Riga, June 10, 2015 – Today, Sharon Hudson-Dean, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. at the U.S. Embassy in Riga will host a reception to honor the recipients of this year’s Fulbright, Humphrey, Benjamin Franklin, and Baltic American Freedom Foundation Fellowships.

This year, three students and three scholars from Latvia will receive Fulbright Fellowships to study and conduct research in the United States, one mid-career professional will receive Humphrey Fellowship, two high school students will receive a Benjamin Franklin Fellowship to participate in a youth leadership seminar in the United States, two students will participate in the Studies of the United States Institute (SUSI) and 15 individuals will receive Baltic American Freedom Foundation fellowships to study, conduct research, participate in an internship in the United States, or to host a U.S. speaker in Latvia. (Please see the attached fact sheet for this year’s recipient names, affiliations, and U.S. host institutions.)

Recipients of the Fulbright Foreign Student Fellowship will undertake graduate studies at a U.S. university and Fulbright Visiting Scholar Fellowship recipients will conduct research and lecture in the United States. The Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 300,000 participants worldwide with the opportunity to exchange ideas and observe each other’s cultures and political and economic institutions. Since 1991, the United States has offered Fulbright fellowships to 184 outstanding scholars and students from Latvia.

The Benjamin Franklin Fellowship recipients will participate in a four-week seminar for high school students from across Europe focused on leadership development and the fundamentals of U.S.-EU relations.

The Baltic American Freedom Foundation (BAFF) mission is to enrich the ties between the United States and Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, through education and exchange programs centering on economic growth and democratic processes. BAFF offers various scholarship opportunities in the United States to residents of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Current American scholarship opportunities include: the Professional Internship Program for university students and recent graduates; the Graduate Scholarship Program for post graduate students; the Research Scholarship Program for professors and others in academia; and the Baltic-American Dialogue for educational institutions, government entities, and business groups. 82 Latvians have received BAFF fellowships since 2011.

The U.S. Embassy encourages students, scholars, and professionals in Latvia to apply for 2016 fellowships. The deadline for the Humphrey Fellowship Program and the Fulbright Student Fellowship applications is September 2; the deadline for the Fulbright Scholars program is November 16. The deadline for BAFF scholarships is October 30, 2015 and April, 2016. Application forms and more details for Fulbright and Humphrey fellowships are available on the U.S. embassy’s website http://riga.usembassy.gov/ and for BAFF at http://www.balticamericanfreedomfoundation.org/.


Media representatives and photographers are welcome to attend the reception. Please contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Riga.

FACT SHEET: Fulbright, Humphrey, SUSI, Benjamin Franklin and BAFF Grantees for Academic Year 2015-16.

Fulbright Visiting Scholars:

Dr. Gunda Reire, Managing Director, Center for International Studies. Dr. Reire will conduct research on “Institutional Cooperation between UN, EU and NATO as a Counterbalancing Tool to Russia’s Policy” at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Sandija Zēverte-Rivža, Researcher and Assistant Professor, Institute of Economics and Regional Development, Latvia University of Agriculture. Dr. Zēverte-Rivža will conduct research at Oregon State University and will do “A Comparative Analysis of the Policy Framework and Support Measures for Promotion of the Production of Renewable Energy (Biogas) in EU and the United States.”

Dr. Inta Mieriņa, Researcher at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, University of Latvia. She will conduct research at the University of Washington, Seattle. The team for the research is “Are Emigrants Less Pro-Social in Their New Community than They Used to be at Home? A Comparative Analysis of Latvian Youth at Home and Abroad.”

Fulbright Student Fellowship recipients:

Ms. Beatrise Bērziņa, Student, University of Latvia will work towards her PhD in Chemistry at Iowa State University.

Mr. Matīss Šteinerts, Architect, Architect studio Modus Mood will work towards his master’s degree in Urban Studies at Fordham University – Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Ms. Sarma Gintere, Senior Desk Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for will work towards her master’s degree in international relations at New York University.

Humphrey Fellowship recipient:

Ms. Marta Cerava, Editor in Chief of the Latvian National Media internet portal www.lsm.lv will study Communications/Journalism at Arizona State University.

Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows:

Mr. Edžus Bumbieris, a student from Valdemārapils Secondary School, will travel to Purdue University, West Lafayette to participate in the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship program for high school students.

Study of the United States Institute (SUSI) Fellowship recipients:

Ms. Daira Rasa Rancāne, Student from Turība University, will travel to Kansas State University to participate in the SUSI on Environmental Stewardship.

Mr. Valters Vestmanis, Student from SSE Riga, will travel to Indiana University to participate in the SUSI on Social Entrepreneurship.

BAFF Fellows:

For graduate studies:

Mr. Rūdolfs Strēlis will study Product design at PRATT Institute, NY.

Mr. Kristians Ēriks Selga will study in Law at Temple University, Pennsylvania.

For research:

Dr. Mihails Scepanskis will conduct research in Physics at Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois.

Dr. Justs Dimants will conduct research in Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For professional internships:

Ms. Liene Krekovska will focus on Design.

Ms. Hristina Šatalova will focus on Design/Fashion.

Mr. Kristians Karlsons will focus on Start-ups.

Ms. Anna Plaudiņa will focus on Start-ups.

Mr. Kristaps Moruss will focus on Electric Engineering.

Ms. Ance Klāva will focus on International Relations.

Ms. Jeļena Mironova will focus on Chemistry, Optical Fibers, and Quality Management.

Ms. Kitija Krūmiņa will focus on Web development.

Ms. Marta Lange will focus on Medical Engineering.

Dialogue program:

Ms. Santa Margeviča, Center for Science and Mathematics Education, University of Latvia; field of interest—Teacher Training.

Ms. Dagnija Blumberga and Lelde Timma, Institute of Energy Systems and Environment, Riga Technical University; field of interest—Energy Security.