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Peter Lacis - BAFF Professional Intern, Boatbuilder

Among the crowd gathered on the dock in the early morning mist at Newport (RI) International Boat Show was Peter Lacis, BAFF Professional Intern. All eyes were on the show’s largest vessel—a 70’ Empacher complete with a GMT Composites carbon rig and boarding system. The boat, named Sonny, was built by Brooklin Boat Yard of Maine where Peteris, a wooden boat enthusiast from Latvia, has spent the last year utilizing his business skills and passion for boat restoration. Sonny was a featured attraction at the show, one of the largest in-water boat shows in the U.S.

The yacht is a lightweight, performance-oriented sloop with a traditional aesthetic above the waterline and a modern underbody below. The design was developed specifically for single- or double-handed sailing on New England coastal waters as well as occasional competitive racing in a range of classes. The materials and layout were chosen with respect for the owner’s favorite sailing haunts. Sonny was designed by Jim Taylor of Marblehead, Massachusetts in June.

BAFF Board Members BAFF Board Members: Ambassador Michael Polt, The Hon. Mark Sullivan, Richard Sheridan, CFO Alan Griffin and BAFF Regional Manager Ilze Doskina speak with the President of BBY, Steven White.

BAFF BOD members had the unique opportunity to make a professional internship site visit this year to Brooklin to see the progress and to meet with the President of Brooklin Boat Yard (BBY), Steven White. While there, Peteris discussed his internship experience and showed off boats in various stages of restoration and construction.

“It’s been maybe 10 years since we last had a boat there. Sonny is a great showcase of a Maine-built wood boat, and she highlights the true craftsmanship of all those who worked on her,” White said of their most recent work.

“I had an amazing opportunity to join the crew sailing it down to Newport,” said Peteris. “Something I’d been looking forward to for a very long time, participating in the boat show there.” Peteris will finish out his internship in Brooklin in October.

Estonian-American Innovation Award

To highlight innovation in Estonia—and the collaboration between U.S. and Estonian firms and individuals—the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation, the U.S. Embassy in Estonia, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia established the annual Estonian-American Innovation Award for an Estonian individual or firm that has developed an innovation in cooperation with a U.S. partner.

In a highly competitive contest, the Java solutions company, Zero Turnaround OÜ was chosen as the winner of the second annual Estonian American Innovation Award. At a ceremony featuring Estonian Parliament Speaker Ene Ergma and U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey D. Levine, Zero Turnaround OÜ was presented with first prize of 10,000 euros.

Innovation Award

Zero Turnaround was created as a solution to Java’s problems concerning “bottleneck code redeployment” which causes server downtime issues during updates. Thousands of companies now use JRebel and LiveRebel to eliminate this downtime and therefore keep productivity to its maximum potential.

The company is led by a global team of over 90. Its commercial wing is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and its development team is in Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia, with a branch in Prague, Czech Republic.

The annual award seeks to recognize innovation and collaboration in the broadest range of areas including business and commerce, academic and scientific research, medicine and health, the environment, energy, the arts, media, education, and civil society. Applications for the 2013 award will be accepted until October 31, 2013. Specific details are available on the competition website

BAFF Alumni Association

Local chapter members of the BAFF Alumni Association in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will soon evaluate the motivation and proposals of candidates for the office of local chapter president. Those elected will serve two-year terms and will be responsible for communication with local Alumni, and coordination of Alumni events and participation in BAFF outreach activities in their country. And, as might be expected of this networked, super-connected group, voting will be conducted electronically.

Are you a ‘wise guy’ or gal?

Startup Wise Guys in Estonia has an internship opportunity for an Alumnus/a who is interested in startup topics.

Startup Wise Guys provides seed funding and an intense mentorship program to early stage technology startups that are looking to launch their ideas off the ground. The program is hosted twice a year and up to ten new Wise Guys teams are accepted to each cycle of acceleration. Visit for more info.

Informal American Alumni Gatherings in Latvia

BAFF Graduate Scholar Alumna Zane Culkstena is not only a successful manager of a contemporary arts gallery and governmental consultant in arts management, but also a great supporter and coordinator of a social event and speakers program. Every second month she hosts a group of speakers from BAFF and U.S. Embassy-sponsored programs. Attendees and speakers include BAFF Alumni and newly selected BAFF interns. Gathering starts with socializing, following with a series of 4-6 short presentations from different program participants and a Q &A session. In the past year meetings have featured presentations from very interesting BAFF Alumni and various well known Latvian representatives, including the Minister of Economics Mr. Pavluts, Harvard Graduate; Mr. Aigars Nords, founder of Riga Marathon; and Ms. Aiste Ptakauske, President of the U.S.-Lithuania Alumni Association. This is a great chance for Alumni to meet, to share their experience and future plans, make connections, and reintegrate in the environment.

Eeva Kauba, #9371, at the Riga Marathon.

BAFF Welcomes New Staff

Two new coordinators have joined BAFF staff in the Baltics. Eeva Kauba will coordinate Alumni and outreach activities in Estonia. Eeva brings strong organizational skills and experience achieving the objectives of various NGOs. She has served as managing director of Pelgulinna Maternity Hospital Foundation in Tallinn, where she has been responsible for developing partner relationships and managing events. Eeva has taken the lead in organizing several well-attended Alumni social events since starting her position in May 2013.

In Lithuania, Ingrida Laurinaviciene has represented BAFF at the award of a Baltic-American Dialogue grant to Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas and organized Alumni events in Vilnius. Ingrida is an independent translator and was previously a cultural affairs specialist in the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania.

Ingrida Laurinaviciene, front row, second from left, with BAFF Alumni in Vilnius.

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Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF)
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phone: +371-67035270

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