Fulbright scholarships will allow researchers from RSU to study international relations in USA
Each year the US Embassy in Latvia grants Fulbright scholarships to researchers. This year the prestigious scholarship was granted to two representatives of Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU): Una Bērziņa-Čerenkova, lecturer and Director of the China Studies Centre, will go to the Stanford University Centre for East Asian Studies to study China's trans-regionalism policy and its implications on the Baltic States, and Māris Andžāns, lecturer and Head of the International Relations master’s study programme and the Political Science doctoral study programme, will join international relations researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC to study the impact of US foreign and defence policy on Latvia. Both researchers will spend five months in the US.
‘Latvia must understand how to work with China in an efficient and responsive way. RSU should provide world-class China studies by cooperating with the leading centres in Europe and elsewhere,’ says Bērziņa-Čerenkova. She is going to work on what political implications China's new trans-regionalism policies have for the Baltic States by analysing the Belt and Road Initiative and the 16+1 cooperation platform. RSU has been focusing on the development of China studies for 13 years already and has become the centre for research of Chinese politics, language and culture in Latvia. As Bērziņa-Čerenkova points out this opportunity will help RSU reach its development goals in regards to China studies both in terms of research as well as in terms of internationalisation – it will build international partnerships and further international contribution to the daily lives of both students and teachers at the university.
The prestigious scholarship is a testament to the excellence of the lecturers and researchers at RSU according to Agrita Kiopa, Vice-Rector for Science, who has studied in the US on a Fulbright scholarship herself. During their stay in the US the researchers will be able to work with world-renowned experts in their field, and they will be able to share their newly acquired knowledge with students upon their return to Latvia. ‘I'm certain that the time these researchers spend in the US will result in excellent publications and new cooperation opportunities,’ says Kiopa.
RSU has been training future diplomats and experts of international relations for 20 years already, and these decades have resulted in considerable research experience. Andžāns points out that new studies on the relationship between Latvia and USA are especially important at a time when the US is shifting its attention to Asia, whereas the role of the Baltics and even Europe in US policy is no longer as central as before. His study is on US foreign and defence policy with particular attention on the implications of the recent elections and the potential for expanding the bilateral engagement – US foreign and defence policy vis-à-vis Latvia: implications of the U.S. 2016 Presidential and 2018 Congressional midterm elections, and instruments for expanding the bilateral engagement.
To congratulate this year’s scholarship recipients the US ambassador to Latvia, Nancy Bikoff Pettit, hosted a reception on 13 June that gathered the recipients of scholarships granted not only by the Fulbright program, but also the Baltic American Freedom Foundation and the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program.
The prestigious scholarship and the opportunity to gain academic experience in the US has previously been granted to several RSU lecturers including Sergejs Kruks, a Professor at the Faculty of Communication, Andris Sprūds, the Dean and Professor of the Faculty of European Studies, and Associate Professor Henrijs Kaļķis.
The Fulbright programme was founded in 1946 and became available to Latvian citizens in 1991. Grants for scientists and academics are part of the Fulbright programme, but financial support is also granted to students and teachers for an experience exchange in USA.
The US Ambassador to Latvia, Nancy Bikoff Pettit, with this year's Fulbright recipients