Cultural Specialist icon Cultural Specialist

Eric Benjaminson

Eric grew up on a sheep ranch in Oregon and spent 32 years abroad as a U.S. diplomat, including service in Sweden, Belgium, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Namibia. He finished that career as U.S. Ambassador to Gabon and to the island nation of Sao Tome & Principe in Africa.

Eric's father and paternal relatives all come from Latvia, and he has traveled there numerous times and is the author of several articles on aspects of Latvian history. In addition, during his diplomatic assignment in Sweden, he spent over three years living in that beautiful country, traveling to most of our ports-of-call, and working as a project manager on regional environmental cooperation projects between the U.S., Sweden, the Baltic States, Denmark, Finland and Russia.

Eric speaks workable Russian and travels to this region once or twice a year. Eric is now on the faculty at the University of Oregon, directing its development of new overseas partnerships. He is very excited about spending more time in the Baltic region and hopes to share his experiences and viewpoints while also learning the perspectives of guests who have chosen to travel to this stunning and rapidly-changing part of Europe.