U.S. Embassy Celebrates Exchange Program Awards

Riga, June 16, 2016 – Today, Nancy Pettit, United States Ambassador to Latvia, will host a reception to honor this year’s exchange program recipients for the Fulbright, Humphrey, and Benjamin Franklin fellowships, as well as the Studies of the United States Institute (SUSI), Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) program, Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO) Holocaust Teacher Training program and Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program.

Fulbright fellowships are being awarded to three students and three scholars from Latvia to study and conduct research in the United States. In addition, one mid-career professional will receive fellowship to study in the United States through the Humphrey fellowship. SUSI will send two undergraduate students to the U.S. this summer, and 12 high school students will receive Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) fellowships. (Please see the attached fact sheet for this year’s recipient names, affiliations, and U.S. host institutions.)

U.S. government-funded exchange programs in Latvia include:

  • The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship academic exchange program, which 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 more than 190 outstanding scholars and students from Latvia. Fulbright Foreign Student Fellowship recipients undertake graduate studies at U.S. universities. Fulbright Visiting Scholar Fellowship recipients conduct research and lecture in the United States.
  • The Humphrey Fellowship is a mid-level professional program that includes graduate studies at U.S. universities and a professional internship.
  • The TEA Program provides a six-week program focused on teaching strategies and curriculum development at includes seminars and a practicum at U.S. secondary schools.
  • AHO Holocaust Teacher Training Program is a one-week seminar focused on teaching training of Holocaust issues.
  • The Benjamin Franklin Fellowship is a program in which recipients take part 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 SUSI Fellowship is a scholarship which provides in a four-week exchange program for undergraduate students.
  • The FLEX Fellowship is a year-long academic exchange program for secondary students who study in U.S. high schools and live with American families. This is the first year this program is being offered in Latvia.

The U.S. Embassy encourages students, scholars, and professionals in Latvia to apply for 2017 fellowships. The deadline for the Humphrey Fellowship Program and the Fulbright Student Fellowship applications is August 29; the deadline for the Fulbright Scholars program is November 16. Application forms and more details for Fulbright and Humphrey fellowships and other exchange programs are available on the U.S. Embassy Riga’s website.

FACT SHEET: Fulbright, Humphrey, SUSI, Benjamin Franklin and TEA, AHO Grantees for Academic Year 2016-17.

Fulbright Visiting Scholars:

  • Ms. Inga Saknīte, Researcher at Biophotonics Laboratory at the Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy of University of Latvia, will conduct research at University of California, Irvine, on “In vivo multiphoton microscopy imaging of pigmented skin lesions for early diagnosis of skin cancer”.
  • Dr. Aija van der Steina, Researcher at the Scientific Institute of University of Latvia will conduct research at Arizona State University on “Immigrants and Transnational Mobility: Travel Patterns and Impact”.
  • Dr. Raitis Šmits, Assistant Professor at the Visual Communications Department at the Latvian Art Academy will conduct research at City University of New York on “Data Drift. Mapping, Curating and Interpreting Big Data and Media Art Archives”.

Fulbright Student Fellowship recipients:

  • Ms. Zane Sarma, English Language Teacher at Lielupe Secondary School will work towards her PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Arkansas.
  • Ms. Linda Reneslāce, lawyer at the law firm Sorainen will work towards her master’s (LLM) degree in Intellectual Property Law at George Washington University.
  • Mr. Mārtins Birģelis, lawyer at the Ombudsman’s Office will work towards his master’s degree (LLM) in International Human Rights Law at the University of Notre Dame.

Humphrey Fellowship recipient:

  • Mr. Kārlis Dagilis, journalist and lecturer at University of Latvia will study Communications and Journalism at the University of Maryland.

Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows:

  • Ms. Katrīna Rūtiņa, student from Riga State Gymnasium No. 2, will travel to Wake Forest University in North Carolina to participate in the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship program for high school students.

AHO Holocaust Teacher Training Program:

  • Ms. Inga Rokpelne, teacher from Jaunburtnieku Elementary School will travel to Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina to participate in the AHO Holocaust Teacher Training Program.

TEA Fellowship:

  • Ms. Irina Surkova, Teacher from Š. Dubnova Riga Jewish High School.

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

  • Ms. Helēna Laura Bindemane, Student from Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration (RISEBA), will travel to University of Oregon to participate in the SUSI on Environmental Issues.
  • Mr. Matīss Freimanis, Student from Ventspils University College, will travel to University of South Carolina to participate in the SUSI on Civic Engagement.

FLEX Students:

  • Mr. Georgs Tadejs Bārda, Student from Vaivari Middle school will study at Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, Faribault, MN.
  • Mr. Tomass Toms Dārziņš, Student from Mērsrags Secondary School will study at Rossville High School, KS.
  • Ms. Austra Laimdota Grīviņa, Student from Valmiera State Gymnasium will study at Elkhart Memorial High School, IN.
  • Ms. Renāte Grudule, Student from Garkalne’s Arts and Comprehensive Secondary School will study at Parma High School, OH.
  • Ms. Dana Supe, Student from Rēzekne State Gymnasium No. 1 will study at Belle Plane High School, IA.
  • Ms. Karīna Vintere, Student from Ventspils Secondary School No. 4 will study at Ruidoso High School, NM.
  • Ms. Valerija Barkanova, Student from Rīga Classical gymnasium.
  • Ms. Silva Bišofa, Student from Liepāja State Gymnasium No. 1.
  • Mr. Pavels Jeremenko, Student from Daugavpils Russian Lyceum.
  • Ms. Paula Kellija, Student from Rīga French Lyceum.
  • Ms. Linda Novika, Student from Rēzekne Polish State Gymnasium.
  • Mr. Erlends Zagorskis, Student from Preiļi State Gymnasium.