Ausra Park, Ph.D.

Siena College

City: Loudonville, New York - 12211

Country: United States

Research Interests

Post-Communist Politics

Foreign Policy

Political Psychology

Comparative Political Institutions

Comparative Democratization

Specific Areas of Interest

Political Leadership

Post-Soviet Countries

Human Trafficking

Gender And Personality

Small States

Countries of Interest




Former Soviet Union

My Research:

I research post-communist top political leadership (presidents, prime ministers, parliament chairs, and ministers of foreign affairs), small states' foreign policies, role and impact of foreign policymaking institutions, nation-branding, migration, and human trafficking. My current research focuses on two manuscript projects: 1) the first generation of political leaders from the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and how leaders’ personalities affected countries’ policymaking, foreign policy choices, and democratization processes, and 2) the first female East European Presidents that recently came to power (Latvia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Croatia, and Estonia) and the impact (as well as legacies) they had. My broader thematic and geographic area research interests include Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania); Post-Soviet States (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan); the EU; Eastern European Post-Communist Countries; Political Leadership; Crisis Leadership; Women Presidents from Eastern European Region; Foreign Policy Analysis; Migration/Emigration; Human Trafficking (from/to post-Soviet region); Comparative Foreign Policy; Corruption; Democratization and Back Sliding; and Global Justice.


Journal Articles:

(2016) “Lithuania’s Foreign Policy Under Grybauskaite: Change or Continuity?”, Journal of Contemporary European Studies

Tags: Foreign Policy, Gender and Politics, Political Psychology

In 2009, Lithuania’s incoming president was signaling that the country’s foreign policy priorities were about to change. Under what circumstances and to what extent can a high-ranking political leader change a state’s foreign policy singlehandedly? This study, drawing on insights from foreign policy analysis literature, integrates individual decision-makers profiling to offer explanations of initiated changes in Lithuania’s foreign policy. We argue that personal preferences, worldviews, and leadership style allowed Grybauskaite to become the main initiator of foreign policy changes, but that personality-driven foreign policy changes were temporary and were eventually subdued by domestic and international structural factors.

(2015) A Society of Departure in Post-Communist Europe: Socio-political Reasons Behind Mass Lithuanian Emigration, East European Politics

Tags: Post-Communist Politics

Migration occurs among all states, even under “normal” political conditions. When traumatic changes unfold, migration usually increases dramatically. Although all post-communist states experienced significant migration outflows since the 1990s, Lithuania stands as an anomaly among EU member states, exhibiting the net outmigration rates of –25.2% in 2010 and – 12.6% in 2011, which is significantly higher than other post-communist emigrant-states. Situating this article within migration literature debates, and by testing the explanatory powers of migration theories on the selected case, understudied political and social causes that also impact Lithuania’s abnormally high emigration rates are closely examined.

(2015) Post-Communist Leadership: A Case Study of Lithuania's ‘White House' (1993-2014), Demokratizatsiya

Tags: Political Psychology, Post-Communist Politics

This article uses insights from leadership studies to assess how individual leaders have influenced Lithuania’s presidential office and the country’s foreign policy. The case study examines the historical context under which this formal institution was created and evaluates the four presidents in terms of their effectiveness and the impact they had. The article concludes by identifying two Lithuanian leaders as being effective and influential during their presidency, albeit having different impacts on the foreign policy of the country due to their personality traits and domestic as well as foreign contextual factors.