New Foundation Aims to Bridge Baltic Residents and US Universities

    A researcher views a specimen under the microscope. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia professors and academic researchers can pursue research projects in U.S. universities through scholarships provided by the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation. Photo by: Esther Simpson / CC BY Esther SimpsonCC BY

    Graduate students in the Baltic countries who want to study in universities or intern for companies in the U.S. now have a new avenue to do so.

    The U.S., Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have launched a new, long-term initiative with the specific purpose of bridging citizens of the three Baltic states and U.S. universities and companies. Representatives of the four countries have announced in Washington, D.C., that the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation, a research and business-focused nonprofit, has commenced operations.

    The foundation aims to “enrich the ties between the United States and Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, through programs of education and exchange centering on economic growth and democratic processes,” according to the initiative’s official website. “Visibly strengthening U.S.-Baltic ties is a core goal.” 

    BAFF, as the foundation is also known, offers scholarship opportunities to residents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It has special programs tailored for university students and recent graduates, postgraduate students, as well as professors and other professionals engaged in the academic field.

    Here’s a quick overview of programs currently offered by BAFF:

    - Professional Internship Program, a six-month or yearlong all-inclusive internship program with a U.S. company. It covers round-trip airfare, travel health insurance. U.S. visa and a monthly stipend for meals, accommodation, transportation and pocket money.

    - Graduate Scholarship Program, a program specifically tailored to meet the needs of Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians who are planning to attend or have been accepted in a U.S. graduate school but received only partial or no funding. The program provides a stipend of up to USD25,000 per year.

    - Research Scholar Program, designed for professors and academic researchers who want to pursue collaborative or independent research projects in the U.S. for up to one year. It includes a fellowship worth as much as USD60,000, J-1 visa for primary participant and J-2 visas for the participant’s family members. The program also provides family allowances.

    BAFF and its programs are financed by the U.S. government through a special investment fund called the Baltic-American Enterprise Fund.

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    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.