9.11.2023 / 8:30 am - 7:00 pm

Light Up Latvia

Celebrating Innovation in Education! 


November 9, 2023

Fantadroms, Gustava Zemgala gatve 74a, Riga, Latvia

Let’s come together to celebrate the journey of innovation-driven education, where academia meets entrepreneurship and state administration, and ideas become reality. Light Up Latvia is not just an event, but a catalyst for progress that radiates far beyond its borders. 

Through collaboration with all stakeholders—educational institutions, entrepreneurs, startups, corporations, non-profits, venture capitalists, and government entities—we light the way toward a brighter future. Together, we will forge connections, share experiences, and exchange ideas that spark positive change.

This event will also be an opportunity to commemorate the accomplishments of those who have gone through the partnership programs Riga Business School is implementing with the common goal of developing education by learning from some of the best higher education institutions in the world, like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Education Innovation Laboratory), University of Buffalo (faculty training) and Harvard University (Computer Science course adaptation). The participant stories are a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and education, beginning a ripple effect that touches communities and businesses alike.

Come and be a part of this illuminating celebration!

Who do we expect to see at the conference?

  • Education leaders, faculty, and scientists
  • Entrepreneurs and startups
  • Corporations with an eye on innovation
  • Government officials and municipal representatives
  • Non-governmental institutions
  • RBS project program participants
  • Education enthusiasts
  • Venture capitalists
  • Supporters of Latvia’s economic transformation


8:30 AM – 9:30 AM: Registration, Coffee, and Networking

  • Join us bright and early to grab your first cup of coffee and begin to network with the speakers and attendees.

9:30 AM – 10:15 AM: Opening Remarks

  • Listen to opening speeches from renowned guests, setting the tone for the day.
      • Silvija Reinberga, Parliamentary Secretary at the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science
      • Tālis Juhna, PhD, President of Riga Technical University
      • Raimonds Lapiņš, Deputy State Secretary at the Latvian Ministry of Economics, 
      • William Couch, Public Affairs Officer at US Embassy to Riga
      • Voldemārs Innus, Founder of Riga Business School 
      • Claudio Rivera, PhD, Director of Riga Business School

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM: University at Buffalo: From Innovation to Impact, Nojin Kwak, Vice Provost for International Education, University at Buffalo

  • Gain insights on the importance of innovation within education from University of Buffalo. 

10:45 AM – 11:30 AM: How Collaboration Supports World University Rankings: Keynote Speech from Times Higher Education Representative Lachyn Italmazova

  • Learn how collaboration drives innovation, and developing partnerships supports universities as they push forward in world rankings.

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM: Coffee Break

  • Take time to reflect on the morning speeches, prepare for the discussions ahead, and share your perspective with other attendees.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Panel Discussion: Bringing MIT Best Practices to Latvia

  • Join the discussion of how leaders from the Education Innovation Laboratory have been equipped to implement MIT’s best practices in Latvia. The panelists include
      • Karīna Palkova, PhD., Vice Dean Faculty of Law, Riga Stradins University
      • Linda Helmane, Executive Director, Foreign Investors’​ Council in Latvia
      • Valts Ābols, MD., CEO Children’s Clinical University Hospital
      • Vijay Kumar, PhD., Senior Advisor to the Vice President of Open Learning and Founding Executive Director of J-WEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM: Breakout Rooms: Experience Stories and Interactive Sessions

  • Take part in one of the three rooms dedicated to sharing experiences and transferring knowledge:
    • MIT Room: Ecosystem Mapping for the Future
    • Buffalo Room: How Higher-Education Faculty Exchange is Preparing the Future Generations of Latvia
    • Harvard Room: CS50 Curriculum for Advanced Programming Course in High Schools

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM: Lunch

  • Enjoy a delicious lunch while making connections with other change-makers in this community.

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM: Panel Discussion: Empowering Tech Education in High Schools Through Stakeholder Collaboration

  • Engage in a panel discussion representing various stakeholders as we analyze the mutual benefit of collaboration using the CS50 Harvard program as an example of this.

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM: Interactive Sessions

  • Hear pitch presentations from six developing education innovation projects and vote on which has the greatest potential impact on Latvia.
  • CS50’s Outreach and Partnerships: We are always happy to hear of interest in CS50! If individual teachers, schools, or non-profits are looking to offer courses in computer science, programming, and/or technology more generally, CS50 loves to explore possible collaborations as part of our outreach initiatives. In addition to CS50’s collaborations with universities like Yale, we’ve also worked closely with Miami Dade College, Fundación Uno in Nicaragua, the Ministry of Education in Indonesia, and other CS50x groups worldwide. We make computing education available to students and free curricula and professional development available to teachers.

5:15 PM – 5:30 PM: Celebrating Education Innovation Laboratory Program Participants

  • In 2022/2023 Education Innovation Laboratory launched three different programs to foster innovation and stakeholder collaboration. Give a moment to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the programs’ participants.

5:30 PM – 5:55 PM: Looking to the Future, Marek Wosinski, Board Member at Global Network for Sustainable Development and Zane Čulkstēna, Founder and Director at ERDA

  • Shape the future of education and innovation.

5:55 PM – 6:00 PM: Closing Remarks

  • Wrap up the day’s discussions as we summarize the ways innovation-driven education can light up Latvia. 

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Drinks and Networking

  • Wind down with drinks, networking, and conversations. It’s a perfect opportunity to connect with others and process the new ideas. Light up your career, view of the world, and the greater region surrounding us!

7:00 -11:00 PM: Closed Experience Sharing for Education Innovation Laboratory’s Program Graduates and Supporters

*The event will take place in English.

**Please note that the schedule is subject to change.

Confirmed Speakers and Special Guests

  • Bernie Longboy, CS50’s Senior Preceptor, Harvard University
  • Carter Zenke, CS50’s Senior Preceptor, Harvard University
  • Julia Reynolds Cuellar , Associate Director, MIT JWEL
  • John J. Wood, Senior Associate Vice Provost, University at Buffalo
  • Nojin Kwak, Vice Provost for International Education, University at Buffalo
  • Vijay S Kumar, Executive Director, MIT JWEL

Organizers and Supporters

Thank you to the organizations supporting the Light Up Latvia event and various education innovation projects implemented by the Education Innovation Laboratory and Riga Business School


We look forward to an enlightening and enriching day at Light Up Latvia, and hope to see you there!



Education Innovation Laboratory (EIL) was established to build an innovation ecosystem for change-makers to create impact by experimenting with bold ideas shaped by education. Through programs designed to increase the capacity of the leadership of the institutions of higher education, private sector, and public administration, we’re bringing together various stakeholders so that the different initiatives they implement will benefit from unique perspectives and needs. EIL is financed by the Ministry of Education, and implemented by Riga Business School in close partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (MIT J-WEL). 


The conference is free of charge. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund under project No. “Support for RTU International Cooperation Projects in Research and Innovation” and European Union Structural Fund project No. “Support for the Development of Individual Competences of Learners”.

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