Latvian winners of Fulbright scholarships named

Three college students, four scholars and two high school teachers will study or work in the United States during the next academic year thanks to Fulbright scholarships, the U.S. Embassy in Latvia has announced.

Former U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright established the Fulbright program in 1946. The goal of the program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The U.S. government maintains the Fulbright program with many countries all over the world. Since 1991, the United States government has offered Fulbright fellowships to outstanding students, teachers, and senior educators from Latvia, and so far some 85 Latvians have received these awards.

The Fulbright awards cover all expenses during the fellow’s stay in the United States, as well as round-trip airfare to and from Rīga. Students normally study for one or two years, while senior educators travel for either one or two semesters to conduct research or teach at the universities in the United States. Teachers go to the United States to teach their subject in an American school for one academic year.

The students from Latvia who received Fulbright scholarships are Rita Kaša, a correspondent for Radio Free Europe and a freelance writer for the Internet portal, who will work towards a doctorate in educational policy at the State University of New York at Buffalo; Zigurds Zaķis, director of client services, strategic planner and consultant at Domino Marketing and Public Relations Agency, who will pursue an MBA degree at the Brandeis University, and Vladimirs Visipkovs, an assistant professor at Riga Technical University, will work toward an MBA degree at the Arizona State University.

Fulbright visiting scholars in the coming academic year are Mārīte Kirikova from the Riga Technical University, who will lecture and conduct research on application of knowledge management in information systems development and distance learning at the Boise State University in Idaho; Valda Čakare, professor and head of the Department of History and Theory of Culture at the Latvian Academy of Culture, who will research current theoretical approaches and the stage practice of post-modern theater at the University of Wisconsin in Madison; Kaspars Kļaviņš, a history professor from the University of Latvia, who will research the “Living Middle Ages in Europe of the 18th and 20th Centuries” at the Roosevelt University in Chicago, and Lidija Šiļņeva, rector of the Attīstība School of Social Work, who will conduct research on management and leadership in social work at the Monmouth University in New Jersey.

Two Latvian high school teachers will teach English as a second language in the United States under the Fulbright program. Anita Boreiše from the Rīga Gymnasium No.1 will work at the Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Md. (In turn, U.S. teacher James Textoris will teach English at the Rīga high school.) Ingūna Stārastiņa from the Jelgava Gymnasium No.2, will teach at Central High School in Omaha, Neb. She will be the first foreign teacher to work at this high school, according to the embassy.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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