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Mission and History
The mission of SSE Riga has been, since its inception in 1994, to provide a state-of-the-art education in business and economics that contributes to the economic and social development of the region, in particular Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The mission also includes research, and SSE Riga should produce state-of-the-art research of relevance to the Baltic countries, and the School should actively participate and foster public debate in its fields of competence.
The core values of SSE Riga provide a foundation for faculty, staff, and students to accomplish its mission. The values are focused on integrity, community, and excellence.
Integrity: we adhere to high ethical standards by applying accountable academic and administrative policies, practices and services; the School requires practicing dignity and honesty in actions and words.
Community: we nurture a diverse and caring community in which each member of the School is valued and respected; a positive and friendly atmosphere is created, allowing space for individual uniqueness and teamwork collaboration.
Excellence: we demand intellectual rigor and critical enquiry in advancing academic work and expanding knowledge; we serve as a catalyst for positive changes in the Baltic countries and beyond.
The Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE Riga) was founded in 1994 by the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) with the support of the Swedish government, and the Latvian Ministry of Education on behalf of Latvia.
Since 2010 SSE Riga is owned by a foundation established by SSE, the University of Latvia and the SSE Riga Alumni Association. The operations of SSE Riga are governed by the Articles of Association of the SSE Riga Foundation, which have been agreed upon by all the founders, and one of the most important tasks of the new foundation is to raise funds for the School.
The SSE Riga main building is located at Strelnieku iela 4a. The Building is a remarkable structure and an architectural monument of national significance in the heart of Riga’s Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) district. The district is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The First SSE Riga President
The establishment of SSE Riga was to a large extent one man’s vision – Staffan Burenstam Linder (1930-2000). He served as President of SSE and, being a man of vision, he was the Founding Father of SSE Riga.
In the early 1990s when the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) regained independence after close to 50 years of Soviet rule, Staffan Burenstam Linder, former Swedish Member of Parliament and Minister of Trade, served as President of SSE. He pushed the idea that a School of Economics should be established, serving the Baltic countries and giving intensive training to a new generation of Baltic managers, with English as the language of instruction. The Swedish Government supported the idea and so did the Latvian authorities. An intergovernmental agreement was signed in 1993 between SSE, acting on behalf of the Swedish Government and the Latvian Ministry of Education.
The Staffan Burenstam Linder Foundation was established by family and friends in 2001 to commemorate SSE Riga’s founder and benefactor. Each year two scholarships of up to SEK 100,000 (approximately EUR 7,000) are awarded to support SSE Riga graduates who are going to a Nordic country for further Masters or Doctoral-level studies.
The First Years
On July 11 1994, the first class of BSc. students was welcomed by the school’s first rector, Jan-Erik Vahlne. The renovation work on the school’s building at Strelnieku iela 4a was not completed, so the first months were spent at the University of Latvia, in the Faculty of Geography. On November 8, 1994 the school’s building on Strelnieku iela was inaugurated in the presence of HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and HE President Guntis Ulmanis of Latvia.
The first class was comprised of 56 students, all of them from Latvia. The year after, there were students from all three Baltic countries and class size expanded to 100, and a few years later to 115. The BSc. programme started as a two-year programme with classes starting in early July and continuing virtually without any breaks. In 1998 the BSc. programme was expanded into a three year programme that today is in line with the European Union’s Bologna higher education framework.
In parallel with the development of the BSc. programme, the school developed its Executive Education unit. Since the very beginning, the unit has served the educational needs of the Latvian and Swedish business communities as well as the Latvian Government in the fields of business, management and economics.
The first decade of the 21st century saw a number of important developments: The launch of the SSE Riga Executive MBA programme in 2003 which opened up the SSE Riga experience to a new group of students; the Baltic countries’ accession to the European Union that considerably increased the student exchange opportunities through the Erasmus programme; increased research activities at the School and the establishment of the independent research centre BICEPS (Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies) with which the School cooperates closely both in terms of research and faculty appointments. In addition, the School’s capacity was further strengthened in 2009 when the School established the Centre for Media Studies at SSE Riga and in 2012 when the Centre for Sustainable Business at SSE Riga was founded.
The School’s operation rests on the same four cornerstones as in 1994, each of them of equal importance: Academically strong and highly motivated students; International students and faculty; Independence from the state university system; A strong brand name.