Baltic Studies Program Holiday Letter

Submitted by Stacey Breitberg on

Back in fall 1993, the UW Baltic Studies Program welcomed students into its first Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian language courses; and thirty years later, we’re going strong! Inga Daraškienė is in her third year as Lithuanian lecturer, and Guntis Šmidchens is teaching Estonian; he is also teaching English-language courses about Baltic Politics and Society Today, and about Baltic History. Latvian lecturer Solvita Burr moved to the East Coast and taught remotely in fall 2023, assisted in-person by Egija Ungure, a graduate student in UW‘s choral conducting program; our new Latvian lecturer, Līga Miklaševiča will arrive in Seattle later this month, and will begin teaching Latvian language and culture courses in January 2024.  

The Fulbright Visiting Scholars program brought to campus Professor Daunis Auers (University of Latvia); he is writing a book about the convergence of the Nordic and Baltic countries into a single region of Europe, and has been giving guest lectures in classes taught by several professors in UW‘s Jackson School of International Studies. He will give a public lecture at the National Nordic Museum on January 11, 2024.  

We are grateful for many years of generous support from the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, and to our partners at the Latvian Language Agency and Vilnius University, for jointly funding these lectureships. Visitors from Baltic governments and universities came to campus to learn about our programs: In spring, we met administrators and faculty from Vilnius University, Gina Holvoet (head of the foreign lectureships program, and Dalia Satkauskyte; and from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Rūta Eidukevičienė (Dean of the Faculty of Humanities), Jurgita Macijauskaitė-Bonda (Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Humanities), and Laimutė Anglickienė (Director of Culture Studies). In fall, Professor Diāna Zandberga (Music Academy of Latvia) met with UW‘s Dean for Graduate Education and Dean for the Arts, and with School of Music faculty, gathering information and contacts as she builds a new jointly administered doctoral program for Latvia‘s Music Academy, Art Academy and Culture Academy.  Zane Vāgnere from Latvia‘s Ministry of Culture came to campus to participate in a media literacy program;  and Estonia’s Ambassador at Large for the Diaspora, Marin Mõttus led a group of visitors to campus on November 1 for an intensive series of meetings with UW administrators, librarians, and students enrolled in this fall’s Estonian language class; they concluded their visit with a question-and-answer session in the Baltic Politics and Society seminar.  

Please stay tuned for more information about courses and special events at the UW Baltic Studies Program!