Foreign affairs, Friends, Tennis, U.S. Senators
Juris Ubans was born on July 12, 1938, in Riga, Latvia. When Ubans was six years old he and his mother and two brothers fled Latvia while his father remained behind to recover from typhoid fever. In 1950 Ubans, his mother and brothers arrived in the United States, eventually settling in Syracuse, New York. His mother taught languages at Syracuse University, which he and his brothers all attended. He initially studied engineering but eventually decided to pursue art like his father. He spent two years in the army, from 1957 to 1959, and was graduated from Syracuse University in 1966. He subsequently attended Pennsylvania State University to pursue graduate studies in painting. He was hired by the University of Southern Maine, where he taught for forty-one years. At the time of this interview, he had recently retired from teaching but was managing the Fiore Verde Foundation, which he had founded.
Interview includes discussion of: immigrating to the United States from Latvia; the chaos experienced by displaced refugees during World War II; deciding to study art in college; applying for jobs and interviewing at USM; playing tennis with George Mitchell and the relationship that developed among that group; Mitchell’s competitive spirit; playing doubles with Mitchell and John Breaux; what you can tell about a person by playing tennis with them; Ubans’ perspective on politics, especially regarding Russia; Mitchell’s three principles to govern by; Ubans’ 1973 visit to Latvia to see his father; Ubans’ efforts to collect his father’s artwork; the Fiore Verde Foundation; Mitchell’s ability to put issues into their historical context; and the bipartisan respect accorded to Mitchell.
This recording and transcription are © 2011 Bowdoin College and are presented for private study, scholarship, or research only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction, and quotation beyond “fair use” (Title 17, United States Code) permission must be obtained in writing from the George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421, USA.