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Austris Keišs is a 2nd year Master’s student of Regional Politics and Public Administration at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU), Faculty of European Studies. His average grade is 9.25. 

Austris’ academic performance is and has remained outstanding all through his bachelor’s and master’s studies at RSU. His bachelor thesis: Social capital as a factor motivating people from Latgale living abroad to return to the Latgale region was awarded with the highest grade and the conclusions of the thesis were used by the State Chancellery when putting into practice the re-emigration plan. Austris participates in the implementation of preparatory courses for prospective students of the Faculty of European Studies at the Academy of Young Diplomats and Political Experts.  He is active and responsive with a true interest in the study process and, if asked for assistance, would never refuse. 


Austris Keišs (first on the right) at the RSU Annual Awards Ceremony, RSU Academic Ball, Latvian Society House, Rīga, 24 March 2018

Describe yourself. Purposefulness and responsibility combined with a Latgalian sense of humour. 

Three important things you have accomplished so far. One of the most significant choices I have made so far was choosing studies at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU), Faculty of European Studies. The dynamic study environment has given me the chance to meet a number of competent and outstanding peers with a good sense of humour and also professional and inspiring academics. Rich in experience and knowledge, the lecturers and professors have not only supplied me with in-depth knowledge and competencies in political sciences, they have also inspired me to strive for excellence and to make the world a better place.< /p> An important personal victory was learning the Norwegian language. After graduation, I had set a goal to learn a new language. As a result, I learned Norwegian which has contributed to my professional growth and has enhanced my perception of the world in general. Language proficiency is a possibility to better understand the world of other people which, in turn, helps you better understand yours. 

Studies at Rīga Stradiņš University. There are two vivid and valuable experiences -  the first was at the end of the first study year, when I had to hand in my term paper which was the largest academic challenge so far, as I had chosen a totally unsuitable topic and had put off the writing of the paper to the last moment. There was practically no time left for accomplishing the task and I was already taken over by a certain sense of doom, when the supervisor of my work, the current head of the International Admissions Office, Māris Ginters found the right words to motivate me and a plan to not only submit the work in time but also to have it written of high standard. After all, I managed to hand it in and to defend the paper. This was a valuable lesson for future study years. Now I can look back on the situation with a smile, realising that nothing extraordinary has happened, thus, I have to confess that this event has played a significant role in shaping my future study process. 


Austris Keišs (first on the left) RSU student scientific conference 2016.

Another striking event, without doubt was the RSU annual awards ceremony at the Academic Ball. I was deeply honoured to receive such a recognition and I am thankful for that to my faculty and the university.  

Life-changing teachers. I must admit that I am a lucky person as life has brought me together with colourful personalities who have inspired me to learn, not to be afraid of the unknown and to move forward. Family and closest friends, certainly, are my foundation. They have always supported and encouraged me and served as an example of the best human qualities. On my future path I have always tried to take with me an idea or quote from every teacher, lecturer or professor I have met during the study process. I do not have one Great Teacher, rather I would say that every individual whom I have interacted with at some point in my life, has given me the opportunity to acquire new professional knowledge and learn valuable life lessons.

Values. Digital technologies have torn down many barriers for the acquisition of information and communication possibilities. At the same time, it seems to me that smart devices have created new obstacles for building lasting mutual relationships. I would say that relationship building and maintenance is gaining importance, with family relationships at the forefront, not to neglect relationships in a wider sense – friends, colleagues, etc. Although you may have a plentitude of Facebook friends, real and lasting personal relationships will make you complete, nevertheless, such relationships must be nourished. In the absence of mutual trust and respect, it is hard to speak of long-term cooperation and unified, concerted action to make this country a better place to live.  


What should be done to make the world a better place? Each day that you live is your life in miniature. The foundation of success and a better world lies in being consistent and being able to develop positive habits that you repeat every day. The big picture consists of small pieces that are fitted together with purpose. Do not think that to make the world a better place is someone else’s job and that we cannot change the place or conditions that we live in.  Pick up a discarded bottle lying on the ground, help your neighbour, encourage someone to move forward  - each of us can start by doing a small good deed – starting today!

Where do you see your place in Latvia’s development? Sof far my experience has helped me to realise that knowing what happens in the world, moving forward and acquiring knowledge is one of the cornerstones of success. I would like to encourage others to be broad-minded and not to be small in their goals. By getting an education, we become better people and through this we make our home country a better place.  I would like to be among those who help the younger generation in the acquiring of knowledge, widening their horizons and inspiring to achieve, which we all will benefit from ultimately.  

Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) has a tradition of celebrating the achievements and outstanding performance by expressing gratitude to the best students and staff members who have significantly contributed to research, academic affairs or to the popularisation of RSU.  On 24 March 2018 at the traditional Academic Ball, held at the Latvian Society House, RSU presented its Annual Recognition Awards in eight categories.  The annual award in the category Master’s Student of the Year is presented for outstanding academic performance and active involvement in academic and social events.