Kent plans first Lithuanian student exchange program

Valerie Brown

The beginning of June marked the formation of a new partnership between Kent State University and Siaulia University through the College of Arts and Sciences.

Siauliai University, located in northern Lithuania, agreed to partner with Kent State following a visit from the university president, Vidas Lauruska. The current partnership would allow for faculty exchange, with student exchange being a goal in the future.

“This is a really nice connection for us in the Baltics,” said Ted McKown II, associate director of international affairs. “We just really feel like this is a tremendous opportunity for us to make connections to that region of Europe.”

The program will be directed at students majoring in business administration, public policy and biomedical technology.

The university’s proximity to a NATO installation, its biomedical program and its business climate make it an ideal location for research and idea exchange, said Sandra Morgan, director of the outreach program for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“They had programs that were good for us (and) that we could collaborate on,” Morgan said. “They meshed very nicely.”

The tentative goal for the first student exchange program is late spring or early summer of next year.

Siauliai University will also have access to the Kent State University Library’s archive of about 12,000 Lithuanian materials—many are books and formal records. Morgan said the collection is the second largest next to the archive at the Lithuanian Cultural Center in Chicago.

“Having a look at those records and being able to share them internationally with scholars is pretty important,” Morgan said.

Kent State has had a partnership with Ohio’s Lithuanian community since the early 1970s when the university developed an ethnic studies program focused on eastern European culture. The program was dissolved, but the Lithuanian Fellowship Fund for students and faculty remained.

“There may be many opportunities for individuals who have a heritage of Lithuania to make a connection to their heritage,” McKown said. “So that’s an exciting aspect of this partnership.”

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Valerie Brown at [email protected].