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Baltics Seminar

VISION

POL338: The Baltics Seminar: History, Business and Geopolitics in Eastern Europe (2-credit).

This international seminar explores the history, politics and economics of the Baltic region—particularly Latvia and Lithuania. The seminar centers around the role of United States embassies in the Baltics. Students will visit U.S. embassies in Riga, Latvia, and Vilnius, Lithuania, and meet diplomatic officers who hold various economic and political responsibilities.

This course is open to all majors and appeals to a broad range of student interests. International Affairs majors will be interested in the inherently political power-and-law dynamic at play in Eastern Europe’s geopolitics that undergirds many of their field’s lines of inquiry. Economic Development students will be interested in the relationship between corruption (rule of law), foreign investment and economic development. International Business majors will benefit from exposure to some technical aspects of investment law, including the navigation of host state business regulations as well as international treaty obligations and expectations. And finally, History majors will enjoy exploring the communist-era history and the effect of the World Wars on the Baltic region. All students will benefit from understanding how all of the above aspects (government-institutional, business-market and historical-cultural) intersect in the “real world” and how they can interact with one another to promote (or inhibit) mutual prosperity and alleviate (or instigate) sources of conflict.

LOCATION

Latvia

  • Walking tour of Riga
  • U.S. Embassy (Riga)
  • Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (Riga)
  • The Blackhead House (Riga)
  • The Saeima (Latvian Parliament) (Riga)
  • Latvian Investment Agency (Riga)
  • Latvia National Opera (Riga)
  • National Library of Latvia (Riga)

Lithuania

  • Walking tour of Vilnius
  • U.S. Embassy (Vilnius)
  • Kazakhstan Embassy (Vilnius)
  • Presidential Palace (Vilnius)
  • Civil Education Center (Vilnius)
  • Trakai Castle (Trakai)
  • Lithuania Christian College (Klaipeda)
  • Klaipeda Port Authority
  • Hill of Witches (Juodkrante)
  • Hill of Crosses (Siauliai)

CURRICULUM

Politics of Eastern Europe (POL 371) is the on-campus prerequisite course for this international seminar and is offered in the spring. First, the prerequisite course provides the historical foundation for further studies in Eastern Europe, with a focus on WWI, WWII and the Cold War’s impact on the region. Next, the course explores the current political and economic systems of various Eastern European countries. Finally, the course engages the wider geopolitical context of Eastern Europe, tying together political, economic and security issues, and investigating the confluence of American, NATO, Russian and European Union interests in the region.

The students’ classroom studies come to life when abroad on the international seminar. Students will visit World War and Cold War museums and historical sites. They will meet with officials from the Latvian Investment agency, the Lithuania Port Authority and managers of a U.S. multinational corporation operating in the region. They will tour the Latvian parliament and Lithuanian presidential palace, converse with U.S. economic and public relations diplomatic officers and diplomats from other countries, and attend lectures from local professors on economic development and security issues. Throughout the entire experience, students will take in the unique cultural products of the region, its food, music and as much as possible, its worldview.

Prerequisite Course: POL 371 Politics of Eastern Europe (4-credit). Offered spring 2020.

COST

The total cost will be $3000-$3500 and will include.

  • Tuition
  • Airfare (roundtrip from Boston)
  • Ground transportation (in country)
  • Meals
  • Accommodations
  • Transport and site fees

APPLICATION

Students from a variety of majors are invited to apply, especially Business/Economics, History, Political Studies & International Affairs.
General requirements:

  • Have a 2.5 overall GPA
  • Pre-requisite course (Spring prior to seminar)
  • Complete online application 
  • Contact Dr. Jacobs about your interest in the seminar
  • $30 application fee

Upon acceptance to the program, a non-refundable program deposit of $450 will be due to confirm participation.

Priority Application Deadline: TBD

Contact: Professor