The Department of Government and the The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society have developed a new foreign study program in the Baltics — Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia called the Baltic LEAP (Language, Energy, and Politics). The Baltic countries, all EU member states, provide a fascinating learning laboratory for studying evolving governance strategies, energy transitions, and the dynamics of language and culture. The unique perspective of these Baltic nations results from their distinctive geographic location, positioned between Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia.
All students in the program will take a broad survey covering the history and culture of the Baltic region, incorporating guest lectures by a stellar range of local scholars. The government curriculum will focus on gaining a greater understanding of the history of democratization, cross-cultural issues, group dynamics, and security concerns in the region. The history of the Baltic states is closely intertwined with that of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. Students studying Russian language in these countries will appreciate the long and complicated history of contacts with Russia, as well as the crucial perspective of a formerly colonized nation. Energy students will experience the Baltics as a living laboratory for navigating the complex pressures of transitioning to low-carbon, socially innovative energy systems, and will examine how the Baltic states are transforming energy infrastructures and policies in response to urgent energy security and climate change challenges.
The program plans to work with partners at both Vilnius University in Latvia and the University of Tartu in Estonia over the course of the term.