Giedre Lideikyte-Huber received her scholarship from the Fondation Zdenek et Michaela Bakala (FZMB) in 2014. Thanks to the scholarship Giedre pursued her research on the subject of tax law at two of the most prestigious law schools in the world – Harvard Law School and Berkeley law. She is now a senior Research Associate at the University of Geneva. She also serves as President of the FZMB alumni and she was a member of the selection committee interviewing our scholarship candidates this year.
Could you please describe your job at the University of Geneva?
I am a Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of Law, starting at a Senior Lecturer position on July 1, 2020. Most of my time is dedicated to fundamental and applied research, giving conferences, and teaching.
What would you like to achieve in your professional career?
Having worked in both private and public sectors (private banking, tax litigation for the state of Geneva), I have decided to continue my academic career. It’s something I keep coming back to and something I am really passionate about. I love working with students and seeing how they develop. I am constantly thinking about how to keep them learning. I also like the research itself because it forces me to challenge myself continuously.
Why are you so fascinated by the tax law?
I really like the fact that tax law is connected to various other branches of science. I personally find it almost interdisciplinary, because if you want an answer to such questions as ”why we tax people the way we tax them,“ you have to get out of the lawyer’s comfort zone (I mean studying the laws and case law) and explore other fields, such as political theory, economics, and philosophy.
How did the scholarship you received from FZMB change your life?
The FZMB scholarship was an essential aid to me. I was accepted as a visiting scholar at both the Harvard and Berkeley universities in the US. My financial means were limited. My husband left his job and accompanied me, with our two babies, 1 and 3 years old. We had no salaries during my academic stay in the US, so the FZMB scholarship was a critical source of revenue for us.
Apart from the financial side, I was thrilled to join the community of the FZMB alumni. They have diverse and interesting profiles, but they all have one thing in common: they are incredibly motivated and willing to make a positive impact on our society.
How did your study at the two first-class US universities impact your career?
My time at Harvard and Berkeley turned my vision of studying tax law upside down, and this has had a chain reaction on everything I do for work. I have modified the angle of my studies substantially. I have started looking into research subjects that I have not explored before. I would say that in general, it was a big eye-opener into how we could study other subjects and has massively impacted my research.
What is the most valuable experience from your studies / research at the two US universities?
I would say it was the courses I took and the professors I met. But then on a personal note, I made new friends, and met amazing people, with whom I still keep in touch.
You studied at both European and US universities – what is a major difference between them, in your opinion?
There are a lot of differences, but an important one, in my view, because it generates other disparities – the European public universities (I am not talking about the GB) are almost free of charge and thus more accessible to everyone.
What is your best advice for the new FZMB scholars?
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your peers, your professors, or us (the FZMB alumni). Enjoy everything, and let’s stay in touch!