20 January 2018
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Lithuania in the world

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Lost Birds by Birute Putrius
Published by Birchwood Press

Lost Birds tells the stories of the generation of Lithuanians who, like lost birds, flee the advancing Soviet Army at the end of World War II. They land in displaced persons camps in Germany and later are given refuge in America.

It’s the story of their children, Irene Matas and her friends who struggle to become American and yet not lose their identity in their tight-knit Lithuanian Communities. But as they grow and spread their wings, they begin to rebel in their search for a wider world.

These stories are in turn tragic, funny, magical and elegiac. In the last story, when Lithuania regains its freedom, a group returns to visit relatives, only to find the country sadly changed by the many years of Soviet occupation. And Irene finds something surprising there.

The paperback book is $16.00, while the Kindle and Nook version is $9.99. Both can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, and Booktopia in Australia.

Category : Lithuania in the world

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We need to unite our hearts
and minds for the sake
of a new Lithuania

By Žygimantas Pavilionis,
Former Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States of America

I am deeply grateful for the exceptional honor and privilege to serve my country in Washington D.C. for five consecutive years (2010-2015). I guess it was the peak of my diplomatic career that inspired me to take my final step towards politics (I am now running for office in 2016 parliamentary elections), but most importantly, it was the period when I met and learned so much from my fellow Lithuanian Americans.

Why was this encounter so important for me personally?

First of all, I had an immediate connection to the strong and vibrant civil society of interwar independent Lithuania, preserved in Chicago and other great U.S. cities, strengthened by the great American spirit. The sense of human dignity, solidarity, Lithuanian heritage, our common mission was tremendous, inspiring, and breathtaking.

Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world

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Have you heard about the

South African “Pencil Test”? 


By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven’t. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

Category : Lithuania in the world

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 From Chicago to Paris – then by

car through Europe to Lithuania!


By Diana Pauliūtė Clarisse
Phd in Chemistry, Chicago USA

 For about an hour now the two GPSs have been cooing two different directions.  Our Tom Tom brought from home was telling us to ”turn left when possible”, while the GPS mounted in the rental car is having us move ever Northeast.  My husband is saying we should listen to our Tom Tom.  That would have been a good idea I think as we come to an abrupt standstill.  The cars in front of us line up in a row looking like it goes on forever.  Some of the drivers are standing next to their cars chatting away with other drivers as though they had been there all day.  There must have been an accident, I say.  The time is late in the afternoon, we have been perhaps 20 hrs on the road.

Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world

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International Lithuania
meets in Old Town!

Last Friday the summer season opened here in Vilnius Old Town, for many pleasant encounters between Lithuanians and Lithuanian-related people from all over the world! Amatininku Užeiga (The Craftsmen's Tavern) on the corner of Rotušės aikštė (Town Hall Square) and Stiklių street was the place where we met – representatives of the World Lithuanian Community, Vilnius International Club and VilNews – this warm, velvet soft early summer evening. Amazing night! Wonderful people!

Category : Lithuania in the world

UK educated Lithuanians are now returning home!

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Lithuanians are now returning home from the UK. In cabs?
Photo: Aage Myhre.

A recent article on Lithuanians in the UK discusses how well Lithuanians integrated in the British society and made Britain their home. At the same time, the Guardian outlines a new trend of UK-educated young professionals; many are now moving back to Lithuania!

It also mentions Lithuanian government’s initiatives to encourage Lithuanians living abroad to look for opportunities back home, such as the new Junior Professionals Programme „Kurk Lietuvai“ (Eng. “Create for Lithuania”) that was initiated by Invest Lithuania.

Programme “Kurk Lietuvai” attracted a lot of attention among young Lithuanian professionals abroad and was noted by the as a fine effort to encourage the young professionals to return home. The pioneering project was successfully launched in September last year, offering one-year internships in the heart of government ministries and public institutions. “The project is aimed exclusively at young Lithuanians with degrees from the best foreign universities and will undoubtedly woo some of the brightest back”, - writes the

Lithuania promotes its highly qualified labour pool as one of the key factors attracting foreign investment to the country. Multinational companies consistently identify the high quality of staff as the most positive aspect of their experience in Lithuania.

Read the full article here

Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world

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Great Britain is green & glorious
Laugharne Castle in Wales.

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea.

The United Kingdom is a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system, with its seat of government in the capital city of London. It is a country in its own right and consists of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are three devolved national administrations, each with varying powers, situated in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh; the capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland respectively. Associated with the UK, but not constitutionally part of it, are three Crown Dependencies. The United Kingdom has fourteen overseas territories. These are remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in 1922, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land surface and was the largest empire in history. British influence can still be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former territories. The UK is a developed country and has the world's seventh-largest economy by nominal GDP and seventh-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the UK as well as of fifteen other independent Commonwealth countries. The monarch itself is symbolic rather than political, and only has "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn". The United Kingdom has an uncodified constitution, as do only three other countries in the world. The Constitution of the United Kingdom thus consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions. As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law" the UK Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of Parliament and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change.
Queen Elizabeth II.

File:Hdr parliament.jpg
The Palace of Westminster, seat of both houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. 


It is November. I'm on my way to London from Dover, in my own car. A bit weird to drive on the left side of the road. But London is fantastic, one of my absolute favourite cities in the world. Especially now that Christmas is approaching. This is the city to visit for Christmas shopping and much, much more. The special light. Lavishly decorated stores on Oxford Street. Good smell from every street corner. A pint at The White Lion in Covent Garden...

Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s home. 

River Thames.
Photos: Aage Myhre

London is made up of buildings from many different architectural styles. Most were built after the great fire of1666. Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and some Tudor houses are fine exceptions. The famous architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723), was responsible for many great buildings after the fire. 500 churches, among others. In the 18th and 19 century, known financial institutions grew up, not least the Royal Exchange and Bank of England. From the early 20th century, it is worth mentioning the Old Bailey (criminal court for England andWales). In 1960, the Barbican Estate was erected. Lloyd's 80-century skyscraper and 'the Gerikin' from 2004 are exciting new additions.

A late autumn walk in the park next to The Mall, on our way to Buckingham Palace.


 The White Lion pub in Covent Garden.
Photos: Aage Myhre.

Trafalger Square and the Nelson's Column that is guarded by four lion statues at its base.
Photo: Aage Myhre. 

River Thames.
Photos: Aage Myhre

Lithuanians in the UK

Following Lithuania’s Independence and especially after European Union and NATO membership more and more Lithuanians have chosen to live and work in the United Kingdom. There are more than 100,000 Lithuanians in London and over 200, 000 in the UK. The largest Lithuanian communities can be found in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Bradford, and in Scotland. As a result of this, there are numerous Lithuanian organisations (such as a Lithuanian newspaper, schools and Lithuanian Churches) working in the UK. If you are interested in practicing your Lithuanian or just would like to meet Lithuanians, to know more about our culture and traditions, or even to participate in some cultural events, why not try looking at these two websites: – this is the Lithuanian Embassy’s page on cultural events in the UK. This is the best place to look for information on various events. - Headley Park estate belongs to the Lithuanian community and is the hub of all cultural activities. So, if you want to experience St. John’s Day, Christmas or any other celebrations Lithuanian style you should contact them and ask for more info. Headley Estate also has a hotel, a Lithuanian food restaurant and a camping site with a lake full of fish nearby which is ideal for a summer weekend break. - official website for Lithuanian association in the UK. - this is a Lithuanian community site for Lithuanian speaking people in London, UK and Ireland. The site is available in both Lithuanian and English.

Lithuanian Communities in the UK - Lithuanian Youth Community in the UK - Midlands Lithuanian community Lithuanian community in Birmingham - Lithuanian community in Manchester - Lithuanian chamber of commerce in the UK

Lithuanian Schools in the UK

Religious Organisations
Lithuanian church in London:
Londono lietuvių Šv.Kazimiero bažnyčia
21 The Oval, Hackney Road, London E2 9DT. Tel: 020 7739 8735
E-mail: Website:

Religious and cultural hub in Nottingham, lead by Lithuanian Marian fathers:
Lithuanian Marian Fathers, 16 Hound Road
West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 6AH. Tel.: 01159821892

Lithuanian folk group, Saduto
Saduto was established in 2005. Group members gather every Friday evening at 8:00pm in St. John‘s church, Stratford, London. Everyone is invited.
Rock group, Vital Mission

Lithuanian Scouts in the UK
The Lithuanian scouts movement in the UK started back in 1948. The first camp was organised in 1950, Darley Moor, Derbyshire.
It currently has about 50 members ranging from 8 to 70 years old. They meet every second month and have a camp in Headley Park during summer months.
Lithuanian scouts have their magazine 'Budėkime' which is published three times a year.


Lithuanian Basketball Team in the UK
The Lithuanian basketball team, Gintaras,english/
Currently, Lithuanian BC (playing in London Metropolitan Basketball League) is on the top of the Men’s Premier League 2008-2009 table. Results can be viewed here: 
Lithuanian City of London Club

Lithuanian City of London Club is a members-only non-profit organisation established in late 2006 under the honorary patronage of H.E. Vygaudas Usackas, the Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania.

The members of the Club are Lithuanian professionals (or professionals with ties/interests in Lithuania) based in London from a wide array of careers and pursuits, predominantly from the City.

The Club members get together for social networking, sporting and charitable events as well as for a wide array of topical discussions with business, political and other leaders from Lithuania and UK to foster professional and intellectual interaction between Club members and Lithuanian society. The Club is also building links with other organisations in the UK and actively participates in a number of initiatives and events in the Lithuanian community in London.
Currently the Club unites close to 200 members and partners who get together on a regular basis. LCLC Pub Social drinks are every last Thursday of the month. For more information about the Club and our activities, please email

The Club's President: Daumantas Mockus,
The Board: Rasa Balsytė, Darius Daubaras, Raminta Dereškevičiūtė, Ieva Šatkutė

LCLC Newsletter
You are welcome to read the 2nd issue of LCLC’s Newsletter! With this publication, the Club aims to keep members, alumni, friends and other stakeholders abreast of LCLC's latest developments, news and adventures. And there have been aplenty! For those who missed the 1st issue - a small recap.



Image: Cutting the ribbon in the wonderful photo above is Dr. Oskaras Jusys, the Lithuanian ambassador to the UK.

Aer Lingus launched services to Vilnius from its London Gatwick last year. Cutting the ribbon in the photo is Dr. Oskaras Jusys, the Lithuanian ambassador to the UK.



Cambridge University is consistently ranked one of the top ten in the world

The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about 50 miles (80 km) north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the city. Cambridge is well known as the home of the University of Cambridge, which has been consistently ranked one of the top ten universities in the world. The university includes the renowned Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two buildings, along with the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital in the far south of the city and St John's College Chapel tower in the north. According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, the city's population was 108,863 (including 22,153 students).


Cambridge University Lithuanian Society [CULS]
Cambridge University Lithuanian Society is predominantly Lithuanian, but also welcomes everyone from any background. The society goal is to promote Lithuanian culture as well as to take part in cultural interchange. We have several meetings each term and organise social events for broader audience. We are looking forward to seeing you.




Robin Hood and the Sherwood Forest

When we continue north to the city of Leeds a road sign with the name of Nottingham shows up, I decide to take a detour into the Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood's famous habitat. Sherwood Forest is a Royal Forest in Nottinghamshire that is famous through its historical association with the legendary outlaw archer who took from the rich and gave to the poor here, right in the heart of medieval England. This very attractive forest lands attracts 500,000 tourists annually, including many from around the world. Visitor numbers have increased significantly since the launch of the BBC's Robin Hood television series in 2006.

The park hosts the annual Robin Hood Festival for a week each summer. This event recreates a medieval atmosphere and features the major characters from the Robin Hood legend. The week's entertainment includes jousters and strolling players, dressed in medieval attire, in addition to a medieval encampment complete with jesters, musicians, rat-catchers, alchemists and fire eaters.


The New Adventures of Robin Hood was filmed in Lithuania

The New Adventures of Robin Hood is a 1997-1998 live action TV series on Turner Network Television. It was filmed in Vilnius, Lithuania and produced and distributed by Dune Productions, M6, and Warner Bros. International.


First Season

Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes. The origin of the legend is claimed by some to have stemmed from actual outlaws, or from ballads or tales of outlaws.

Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the medieval period continuing through to modern literature, films and television. In the earliest sources, Robin Hood is a yeoman, but he was often later portrayed as an aristocrat wrongfully dispossessed of his lands and made into an outlaw by an unscrupulous sheriff. In popular culture, Robin Hood and his band of Merry men are usually portrayed as living in Sherwood Forest, in Nottinghamshire, where much of the action in the early ballads takes place. So does the very first recorded Robin Hood rhyme, four lines from the early 15th century, beginning: "Robyn hode in scherewode stod." However, the overall picture from the surviving early ballads and other early references suggest that Robin Hood may have been based in the Barnsdale area of what is now South Yorkshire (which borders Nottinghamshire).



Leeds has England’s most romantic castle
Leeds Castle, acclaimed as the most romantic castle in England.

Our journey north continues. We arrive in Leeds, a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 (2011 est.), making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union. Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area, which at the 2001 census had a population of 1.5 million, and the Leeds-Bradford Metropolitan Area, of which Leeds is the integral part, had a population of around 2.3 million, making it the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. In addition, the Leeds city region, an economic area with Leeds at its core, had a population of 2.9 million. Leeds is the UK's largest centre for business, legal, and financial services outside London, and its office market is the best in Europe for value. Leeds is considered a Gamma World City, alongside cities such as Rotterdam, Phoenix, St. Petersburg and Valencia.



From Leeds to Lithuania for mushy pea beer

My grandparents came from Kowno (now more often known as Kaunas) in Lithuania. I have long wanted to visit Lithuania, and recently I did. Programs and wars have all but erased the culture I tasted as a child in Leeds, and my grandparents knew in Kaunas, but I did manage to see mead being made, and to sample the richly honeyish, herbal result. The old brewery building still stood, a tiny brick tower that may be unique in Lithuania, but would not look out of place in the Black Country. It is at Stakliskes, between Kaunas and Vilnius, the capital. Its product is simply called Lithuanian Mead (Lietuviskas Midus).

Read more at:



Manchester hosts the oldest Lithuanian club in the UK

From Leeds our trip goes west, to Manchester. Here we find that there is a Lithuanian club with own premises in the city since the end of 1948, though the club as an organization has been in operation since 1925. It is the oldest Lithuanian organization in the UK. Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city. An early 19th-century factory building boom transformed Manchester from a township into a major mill town and borough that was granted city status in 1853. In 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal was built, creating the Port of Manchester.

The city is notable for its culture, music scene, scientific and engineering output, media links and sporting connections. Manchester's sports clubs include Premier League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United. Manchester was also the site of the world's first railway station.
1954 Members' Rule Book



Liverpool – birthplace of The Beatles

File:Albert Dock Liverpool 7.jpg
The Albert Dock is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Liverpool.


We have arrived in Liverpool – at the famous Mersey river and  the shores of the Irish Sea on England’s western coast.

The popularity of The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and other groups from the Merseybeat era have made Liverpool famous, and contributes a lot to the city’s status as a tourist destination. Some may say that football also has played a role...

Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880. As of 2001 Liverpool had a population of 435,500, and lies at the centre of the wider Liverpool Urban Area, which had a population of 816,216.
Historically a part of Lancashire, the urbanisation and expansion of Liverpool were both largely brought about by the city's status as a major port. By the 18th century, trade from the West Indies, Ireland and mainland Europe coupled with close links with the Atlantic Slave Trade furthered the economic expansion of Liverpool. By the early 19th century, 40% of the world's trade passed through Liverpool's docks, contributing to Liverpool's rise as a major city.
Inhabitants of Liverpool are referred to as Liverpudlians but are also colloquially known as "Scousers", in reference to the local dish known as "scouse", a form of stew. The word "Scouse" has also become synonymous with the Liverpool accent and dialect. Liverpool's status as a port city has contributed to its diverse population, which, historically, were drawn from a wide range of peoples, cultures, and religions, particularly those from Ireland. The city is also home to the oldest Black African community in the country and the oldest Chinese community in Europe.
Several areas of the city centre were granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 2004. Referred to as the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, the site comprises six separate locations in the city including the Pier Head, Albert Dock and William Brown Street and includes many of the city's most famous landmarks.

Liverpool is the home of two Premier League football clubs, Liverpool F.C. and Everton F.C.. Matches between the two clubs are known as the Merseyside derby.

File:The Fabs.JPG
Liverpool was the birthplace of the Beatles



Liverpool companies invited to Lithuania


Invest Lithuania was last October hosting a seminar at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce to introduce the advantages, opportunities and support available to UK companies interested in developing their business in Lithuania. It was a multi-sector seminar but particularly relevant to those working in IT, bioscience, financial services and manufacturing companies considering investing in R&D.

The seminar had a range of high quality speakers who introduced the Lithuanian market, its workforce and its competitive advantage as well as an overview of the support available to UK companies looking to invest in Lithuania. The speakers also gave detailed overviews of particular sectors and shared their experiences of working in Lithuania as well as giving the audience an opportunity to ask questions.

This seminar was part of a series run by CC Baltic on behalf of Invest Lithuania, who were also holding seminars in Aberdeen and Teesside. The seminars are directed to companies interested in finding out why Lithuania today is considered one of the best places in Europe to develop business.

Please contact Anatasia Zencika ( or the International Trade Team ( for more information.
Anatasia Zencika



The Beatles was discovered and managed by a Lithuanian Jew

Brian Epstein with The Beatles. 

Brian Epstein (1934-1967) was the man who discovered the Beatles, and guided them to mega-stardom, making them the most successful musical artists of all time. Without Brian, the Beatles as we came to know them, simply wouldn't have existed.  In 1965, both Paul McCartney and George Harrison, on being awarded their M.B.E.s by the Queen, said "M.B.E. stands for Mr. Brian Epstein." 

Brian Samuel Epstein was an English music entrepreneur, and is best known for being the manager of The Beatles up until his death. In 1961 Brian Epstein saw the new band for the first time at The Cavern Club in Liverpool. After the concert he went to speak to them and offered to manage them. On 10th. December 1961 it was decided that Brian Epstein should be the manager of The Beatles, and a contract was signed on 24th. January, 1962. He secured a record contract for them with EMI, and, on the request of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, he sacked the drummer Pete Best so that he could be replaced by Ringo Starr. Brian Epstein remained the manager on The Beatles until his death. Epstein paid for The Beatles to record a demo in Decca's studios, which Epstein later persuaded George Martin to listen to, as Decca were not interested in signing the band. Epstein was then offered a contract by Martin on behalf of EMI's small Parlophone label, even though they had previously been rejected by almost every other British record company. Martin later explained that Epstein's enthusiasm and his confidence that The Beatles would one day become internationally famous convinced him to sign them. Epstein died of an accidental drug overdose at his home in London in August 1967. The Beatles' early success has been attributed to Epstein's management and sense of style. McCartney said of Epstein: "If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian". Epstein's family were Jewish, his grandfather, Isaac Epstein, was from Lithuania and arrived in England in the 1890s, at the age of eighteen. His grandmother, Dinah, was the daughter of Joseph (who was a draper) and Esther Hyman, who emigrated from Russia to England.

Regrettably, the man who did so much for the Beatles has become a comparatively forgotten man since his death.  


Paul McCartney said he had the idea of "Let It Be" after a dream he had about his mother during the tense period surrounding the sessions for The Beatles (the "White Album"). McCartney explained that his mother—who died of cancer when McCartney was fourteen—was the inspiration for the "Mother Mary" lyric. He later said, "It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing 'Let It Be'." He also said in a later interview about the dream that his mother had told him, "It will be all right, just let it be."



Oxford – the dignified university city

We have come to our trip's final destination, to Oxford, home of the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Oxford city is the county town of Oxfordshire, and forms a district within the county. It has a population of just under 165,000, of whom 153,900 live within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre.

Oxford has a diverse economic base. Its industries include motor manufacturing, publishing and a large number of information technology and science-based businesses.
Buildings in Oxford demonstrate an example of every English architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the iconic, mid-18th century Radcliffe Camera. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings.


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Keble College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford.


File:Oxford from Boars Hill.jpg
Oxford skyline.

Oxford Lithuanian Society

Oxford University Lithuanian Society is circle of Lithuanian members of Oxford University's congregation. The aim of the Society is to unite Lithuanians and Lithuanian enthusiasts at Oxford University, to promote Lithuanian culture, spread the knowledge of Lithuanian history and modern state, improve contacts between Lithuania and the UK.

Contact Name:  Juozas Vaicenavičius




My Oxford friend Mervyn Bedford, a teacher in love with Lithuania 
Mervyn Bedford at one of the many
Oxford landmarks of higher education.

Because I know Aage Myhre and his wife and very much respect what he is trying to do for Lithuania, I offered to write of educational values for VilNews. The Baltic nations have a perfect opportunity to change the map of educational provision in ways that better fit the rapidly changing world of the 21st. century. Education is not about buildings. It is not about systems and organisations. It is not about tests and inspections. It is about people and the relationships between those who want to learn, or need to learn, and those who already know it. For almost 150 years State school systems have imposed a model of teaching and learning that has hardly changed while society has fundamentally changed and, recently, very rapidly. Those changes are racing unseen towards our youngest children.

Read Mervyn’s article at


Category : Lithuania in the world

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National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame

A world class novel

and Oscar worthy film



Internationally-renowned Lithuanian film director Tomas Donela, behind the film Farewell

 Anatanas Sileika, Canadian-Lithuanian author of the highly-acclaimed novel Underground 

By Jon Platakis, National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame

Electricity filled the air as the audience packed the main hall of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday, November 3, 2012. 

As Jon Platakis, founder and chairman of the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame which sponsored the event, began his introduction, first, second, and third generation Lithuanian Americans, along with a contingent of students from Daley College, sat in eager anticipation.    

The first to speak was Anatanas Sileika, Canadian-Lithuanian author of the highly-acclaimed novel Underground.  He would be followed by internationally-renowned Lithuanian director Tomas Donela, whose film Farewell captured the admiration of critics and viewers at the Sundance competitions, and the Silver Crane Awards in Lithuania. 

“Even today the western world is unaware of the plight of post-war Eastern Europe,” Sileika said.  “As the West joyously celebrated the end of World War Two, there were no celebrations in Eastern Europe, where a half century of brutal Soviet occupation, mass deportations, and summary executions on a mass scale were about to begin.”

Courageous Lithuanian men and women, anticipating assistance from the United States and its ally Great Britain, by the tens of thousands stormed into the forests to begin what would be the longest and fiercest war of resistance of 20th century Europe. Despite the massive onslaught of the Red Army, Lithuanian partisans effectively controlled most of the countryside until 1949.

Sileika’s novel Underground tells this chilling story of love and war. The novel’s main character, Lukas, is loosely based on Lithuania’s most famous partisan, Juozas Luksa.

During his presentation, Sileika read an excerpt from his novel in which Elena, the woman Lukas loves, elicits a promise from him in exchange for joining the armed resistance, a vow that portends the novel’s stunning climax.

The second speaker, Tomas Donela, could not contain his excitement over acquiring, through the efforts of National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame, the rights to Underground. Donela has the pedigree to make an Oscar worthy film as his latest efforts include, a short film, The Boy and the Sea, and a full-length feature film, Farewell, that have garnered international critical acclaim.

Donela stressed that, “This should not be a Donela project, but a project with the participation of the entire Lithuanian community.” Further, he said, “It is not only important to support this film project financially, but to also help preserve our history and let the general public know about the supreme sacrifices made by the Lithuanian partisans in laying the foundation for a free Lithuania.”

The night before the event, author and director met in person for the first time at a Lithuanian restaurant and eagerly discussed their plans for making this the most important Lithuanian film to emerge on the international scene.

Their excitement was capped by the enthusiastic reception they received from the audience at the Balzekas Museum as well as by the follow-up presentation at the Lithuanian World Center in Lemont   Among those in attendance at the Balzekas Museum was Agne Vertelkaite, Cultural and Economic Affairs Officer at the Lithuanian Consulate in Chicago.  “I am pleased,” commented Vertelkaite, “That Underground was written to stir interest in an uninformed audience, and even more pleased that this novel will be brought to the cinematic screen, as it is time for the western world to learn historical facts that have been submerged in the fog of time for far to long.”

The National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame has made a commitment to initiate and coordinate all fundraising efforts in support of this educational and historic film project. For information on the many ways you can support this project, please contact the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame through its website,, or email at

At the book & film presentation, standing, left to right: Stanley Balzekas Jr., Sigita Balzekas, Jon Platakis, Justinas Steponavicius, Tomas Donela. Sitting: Antanas Sileika 

At the book & film presentation, l to r: Tomas Donela, Jon Platakis, Antanas Sileika 

Category : Lithuania in the world

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Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry is committed to
its “Global Lithuania” Programme

Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis is personally committed to the “Global Lithuania” program and to strengthening ties with the diaspora. During a recent working visit to the United States, he made a special trip to a national gathering of the Lithuanian-American Community in Atlanta. There he told assembled delegates that Lithuania and its diaspora are one undivided and indivisible family. He also discussed practical ways and means for strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership.

When the Foreign Minister appointed Gintė Damušis to the new position of Ambassador at Large for relations with the Lithuanian World Community, he reiterated that State-diaspora relations are among the MFA’s policy priorities. Moreover, he expressed his appreciation for the work of Lithuanians abroad, who have actively contributed to the well-being, prosperity and viability of Lithuania. He also recognized the importance of past support and expressed the hope that efforts could be multiplied in the future through complementary and joint cooperation.

The “Global Lithuania” program is a vehicle for strengthening ties with the diaspora, including one of Lithuania’s oldest and most reliable partners – the Lithuanian World Community. What motivated the Government to come up with this idea? There is no denying that in today’s globalized world every country faces similar challenges. Migration is one such challenge. It is a reality for any democratic society, which guarantees the freedom of movement for its citizens. “Global Lithuania” seeks to address this challenge in a coherent fashion and to transform it into an opportunity. New technologies enable us to communicate faster and to cooperate more efficiently than ever before. The diaspora can successfully maintain transnational ties with their country of origin and actively participate in the state-building process much more readily.

The political, financial and logistical support provided under the auspices of “Global Lithuania” is more targeted and results-oriented. It aims to turn brain drain into brain power in support of Lithuanian strategic interests while at the same time increasing diaspora involvement in the life of Lithuania.

The Minister has stated that in order to realize the full potential of “Global Lithuania”, all government institutions involved in implementation of the program must demonstrate their commitment by allocating adequate funding, also administrative support and other necessary resources for making the “Global Lithuania” vision a reality. 


Connecting Lithuania
and the diaspora

Gintė Damušis

Gintė Damušis, newly appointed Ambassador at Large for relations with the Lithuanian World Community interviewed by Aage Myhre, VilNews Editor-in-Chief

After recently completing her posting in Ottawa as Ambassador of Lithuania to Canada, Gintė Damušis returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Ambassador at Large in the Department of Lithuanians Living Abroad in charge of relations with the Lithuanian World Community.  Her duties include strengthening ties with Lithuanian organizations abroad, engaging Lithuanian communities through joint projects in the implementation of the “Global Lithuania” strategy, also rallying diaspora support for strategic Lithuanian interests. This is our interview with Ambassador Damušis.

Congratulations on your new position and duties. What is your vision for this important job?

I discussed the goals of this new assignment with the Minister.  The vision is to actively engage the diaspora by promoting joint projects and activities for maintaining Lithuanian identity through educational, cultural, economic and other programs. We want to expand connections by encouraging communities to think locally, but act globally by sharing expertise and building business and other professional networks for promoting trade, investment, scientific and other cooperation. We are encouraging direct engagement with Lithuanian civil society so that the Lithuanian people can benefit practically from more active ties with the diaspora.  More people-to-people contacts will open doors and expand horizons. Promoting volunteerism and the sustainability of diaspora activities abroad are issues that will continue to receive attention, also help raise public awareness about the diaspora.  These may sound like ambitious tasks, but many fine initiatives in the diaspora and Lithuania alike are already underway, an entire Foreign Ministry department is dedicated to facilitating this work and 13 Government agencies are mandated to support these and other programs under a “Global Lithuania” action plan. We need to build upon these initiatives, strengthen and expand these efforts, multiply their scope and impact, so that the untapped potential of the diaspora is better utilized.

“We have to turn the idea of Global Lithuania into reality and take the relations between Lithuania and Lithuanian diasporas to a new quality level”, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė, said in a recent meeting with Danguole Navickiene, the newly elected President of the Lithuanian World Community. What should, in your opinion, characterize such a new quality level?

A new quality level can be reached through more mutual respect, recognition and understanding of what each partner has to offer.  This includes open dialogue about the added value of specific activities, also more broad-based recognition that the diaspora is Lithuania‘s natural ally and support system.  Each partner needs to have realistic expectations about the other, also better awareness of mutual needs and requirements. 

My own experience in Canada was very positive. The Embassy worked hand-in-hand with the Lithuanian Canadian community.  We turned to the community for useful information and contacts, the community lobbied Lithuanian interests with local and federal representatives. Our main partner at Embassy business, cultural, press and other public events was the Lithuanian community. 

We also need to recognize that the diaspora itself has changed over the past 20 years.  It consists of people of different ages, life stories and experiences, with vastly varying needs.  There are diverse interests, priorities and traditions between and within the different waves of emigration. The Government’s role is to shape a long-term strategy, which strengthens Lithuania’s connection to a multifaceted diaspora and interconnects the experience of old and new waves of emigration.

“Global Lithuania” is based on the approach that regardless of where we live, we can contribute to the progress of Lithuanian society and build a modern State by interconnecting knowledge, ideas and experience.  Every motivated Lithuanian is important and can play a positive role both individually or within a broader framework like the Lithuanian World Community.

I personally believe that outstanding issues, such as dual citizenship, should not be a hindrance to pursuing practical cooperation and the strengthening of Lithuania-Diaspora ties. This would be counterproductive.

At this meeting between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and LWC, both parties agreed to continue strengthening cooperation in pursuit of common goals. Seen from the outside, it seems as if there has been a lack of close cooperation between Lithuanian authorities and global Lithuanians. Are we now seeing an increased interest and understanding from the national leadership?

I dispute the perception that there is a lack of cooperation.  Solid cooperation exists, as many Lithuanians abroad will attest, but communication could be better. Upon arrival at the MFA, I was surprised to see just how active interaction is with Lithuanian communities abroad.  This cooperation is underpinned by a clear government commitment to maintain the program and strengthen relations despite the consequences of the global financial crisis. It is no secret that Lithuanian institutions are competing for limited resources. Also not all diaspora programs go through the MFA.  As coordinator of „Global Lithuania“, the MFA plays a coordinating role, but it is by no means the only government agency implementing the program.  For example, informal Lithuanian education – a leading LWC priority – is being transferred, as of 2013, from the MFA to the Ministry of Science and Education. Lithuanian embassies worldwide are actively supporting the establishment of Lithuanian schools abroad and will continue to do so.

Other initiatives that the MFA supports include the projects of Enterprise Lithuania and Global Lithuanian Leaders (GLL), which are building up networks of connected professionals around the world with the assistance of Lithuanians living abroad.   GLL has also established a mentoring program for students and young professionals known as LT Big Brother. „Made in Vilnius“ is targetting social media and Lithuanians living abroad in an outreach campaign promoting tourism to Lithuania called „Invite a Friend to Lithuania“.  Lithuanian International Student Services (LISS) has been organizing short-term internships in Lithuania for North American students and is looking to develop this popular program even further.  

The World Lithuanian Economic Forum (WLEF) can serve as another good example of a successful Lithuania-diaspora partnership, which unites business professionals through a vibrant networking platform.  It allows them to share experience and establish new business relationships, while contributing to the development of Lithuania.  The WLEF network gives us access to the talent, expertise, contacts and other creative resources of highly qualified professionals, who have taken an active interest in our country.  We are very grateful for their confidence in us and thankful to those, who have used their personal and professional connnections to draw major investments to Lithuania.

We are trying to interconnect all these fine initiatives with other interested partners such as the Lithuanian World Community, Lithuanian World Youth Association, Lithuanian communities in Europe, North and South America, and elsewhere, also individuals, who have an interest in Lithuania and want to get involved in one way or another. I should note that support is traditionally allocated not to the organization itself, but towards the implementation of good ideas and projects.

There is no scarcity of projects, initiatives or goodwill.  We just need to do a better job at spreading information about the possibilities.  The question of funding also needs to be addressed – and not just from the government side, but from the private and nongovernmental sectors as well. More innovative approaches are needed in funding arrangements to ensure the sustainability of diaspora institutions and activities, particularly among the younger generation of community leaders.

The World Lithuanian Youth Association has demonstrated savviness in this regard by approaching Lithuanian companies to fund the expenses of a recent youth conference in Lithuania, which was attended by 3000 participants from 30 countries, mostly Lithuanian students living or working abroad. The companies realized the added value of their involvement. No doubt they recognized the benefit of investing in an event, which attracted so many young people, many of whom may turn out to be potential job recruits in the future.

The Government is also interested in these young Lithuanians, is encouraging their return to Lithuania where they can apply their new experience and knowledge, or is motivating them to maintain the centrality of Lithuania in their roles as future community leaders.

“No LT leaders called to tell they love me,” said Rimgaudas P. Vidziunas (65) from Arizona (see  He is one among thousands of Lithuanians born in German camps for displaced people after World War II. Why do you think nobody called him or sent him a note of recognition and appreciation?

Mr. Vidziunas‘ life experience is one of so many thousands of interesting, unknown stories. It never fails to amaze me just how important and central Lithuania is to so many people like him. We need to build bridges to reach him and other motivated Lithuanians, to optimize those emotional, professional and other ties more effectively, because Lithuania and the diaspora are inextricably linked. 

The Harvard Business Review Blog Network just carried an interesing article about the meaning of home in a globalized world (“Moving Around Without Losing Your Roots”,  In the article, blogger Gianpiero Petriglieri concludes that „without a local home we lose our roots, without a global home we lose our reach“.  „Global Lithuania“ seeks to keep Lithuanians connected to their home country, or ancestral homeland.  Hopefully, it will better position us to tap into those connections and to strengthen the Lithuania-Diaspora relationship.

What do you see as the main challenges ahead?

One of the biggest challenges is the perception that the Government is indifferent about the diaspora. Much is being done to address diaspora needs and concerns, and to include Lithuanians abroad in the life of Lithuania. The Government is approaching the diaspora in a more coherent way, thanks to “Global Lithuania”, and systematizing support and developing cooperation through many different programs, initiatives and networks.
Despite the enthusiasm from diaspora communities, strengthening Lithuania-Diaspora relations is admittedly a much more challenging task than it was 20 years ago. The main reason, as some community leaders allege, is the lack of a common denominator. Even so, the Government remains committed to identifying common goals and interests with the diaspora, also working in partnership to advance the interests and development of a modern Lithuania.  The goal is to raise „Global Lithuania“ to a new level, so it becomes a living breathing plan and does not just turn into a paper tiger.   

For generations there were certain code words that were part of the Lithuania-Diaspora relationship. These included freedom, human rights, Soviet occupation and the right to self-determination.  Memories from the first years of Lithuanian independence kept the hope alive, and the euphoria of democratic change and reform, particularly during the days of Sajudis, was a major motivator for dramatic change.
A well-defined common issue at one point was EU and NATO membership for Lithuania, which rallied the diaspora around this important foreign policy goal.
Today Lithuania is so diverse across many lines – ideological, political, social, economic, etc. The benefit of such diversity is that every Lithuanian in the diaspora who is interested in Lithuania can find his or her counterpart. The disadvantage is that there is no single unifying cause as in the past for both Lithuania and the diaspora. Even so, opportunities to cooperate abound through specific areas of interest – along professional lines, in university student associations, through diaspora organizations, growing business and science networks, cultural, educational and charitable activities. 
Lithuanian interests and democratic values can be advanced through a stronger Lithuania-Diaspora relationship, which works toward a more secure and prosperous Lithuania. As a global umbrella organization, the Lithuanian World Community can play an important and unique role in this regard, particularly by maintaining Lithuanian identity abroad and promoting the centrality of Lithuania in its global activities. Personal and emotional connections to Lithuania should not be underestimated and need to be nurtured.
We also have to recognize that the average Lithuanian knows very little about the realities of diaspora life.  Many do not realize that community efforts are primarily based on volunteerism, or that Lithuanian families abroad actively maintain their identity through generations, that there are many charitable groups that support Lithuania-related causes, or that diaspora institutions promoting Lithuanian identity and culture abroad, such as community centers, youth camps, archives-museums, etc., are privately funded through individual donations and fundraising campaigns.

Hopefully, more Lithuanians will learn that life in the diaspora is not just about cepelinai dinners and other social events. It’s important to have some idea of what’s going on in diaspora life and Lithuania-Diaspora relations.  The best way for people to feel that they are one united and undivided family is by doing things together and interconnecting interests.  This is what we are aiming to facilitate.

Category : Lithuania in the world

Join our “Historic Route 66 Photography Forum”

- Posted by - (3) Comment

By Rimgaudas P. Vidziunas  aka "Rim", Mesa, Arizona, USA

At a book signing that I was photographing earlier this week, I was surprised to hear that so many Europeans come to America just to tour Historic Route 66 in tour buses, rented cars and even Harley Davidson Motorcycles.  This inspired me to create "Historic Route 66 Photography Forum" for everyone to share their pictures and memories.

We share a passion for Historic Route 66, sharing our images, imagination, memories of the "Mother Road" for the world to enjoy.

U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway and colloquially known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was a highway within the U.S. Highway System. One of the original U.S. Highways, Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926—with road signs erected the following year.[2] The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending at Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).[3] It was recognized in popular culture by both a hit song and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.

Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and it supported the economies of the communities through which the road passed. People doing business along the route became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway, and those same people later fought to keep the highway alive in the face of the growing threat of being bypassed by the new Interstate Highway System.

Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments over its lifetime, and it was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985[4] after it had been replaced in its entirety by the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road that passed through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66", which is returning to some maps.[5][6] Several states have adopted significant bypassed sections of the former US 66 into the state road network as State Route 66.

Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world


Have your say. Send to:

By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago

A wave of unity sweeps the international Lithuanian community on March 11th every year as Lithuanians celebrated the anniversary of the Lithuanian Parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. However, the sense of national unity engendered by the celebration could be short-lived.

Human beings have a strong tendency to overgeneralize and succumb to stereotypical us-them distinctions that can shatter even the strongest bonds. We need only search the internet to find examples of divisive thinking at work:

- "50 years of Soviet rule has ruined an entire generation of Lithuanian.

- "Those who fled Lithuania during World II were cowards -- and now they come back, flaunt their wealth, and tell us 'true Lithuanians' how to live."

- "Lithuanians who work abroad have abandoned their homeland and should be deprived of their Lithuanian citizenship."

Could such stereotypical, emotionally-charged accusations be one of the main reasons why relations between Lithuania's diaspora groups and their countrymen back home have become strained?

* * *

Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year's Eve a great party with friends!
Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year's Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year's traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year's Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year. People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.

During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good - then the year will be successful. If not - the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing - then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine - one can expect good harvest.
* If New Year's night is cold and starry - look forward to a good summer!
* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost - then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.
* If the first day of the new year is snowy - the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy - mostly old people will die.
* If the New Year time is cold - then Easter will be warm.
* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead - then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

* * *

* * *
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius

* * *
Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
By Leonidas Donskis
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political

Immediately after Russia stepped in Syria, we understood that it is time to sum up the convoluted and long story about Ukraine and the EU - a story of pride and prejudice which has a chance to become a story of a new vision regained after self-inflicted blindness.

Ukraine was and continues to be perceived by the EU political class as a sort of grey zone with its immense potential and possibilities for the future, yet deeply embedded and trapped in No Man's Land with all of its troubled past, post-Soviet traumas, ambiguities, insecurities, corruption, social divisions, and despair. Why worry for what has yet to emerge as a new actor of world history in terms of nation-building, European identity, and deeper commitments to transparency and free market economy?

Right? Wrong. No matter how troubled Ukraine's economic and political reality could be, the country has already passed the point of no return. Even if Vladimir Putin retains his leverage of power to blackmail Ukraine and the West in terms of Ukraine's zero chances to accede to NATO due to the problems of territorial integrity, occupation and annexation of Crimea, and mayhem or a frozen conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine will never return to Russia's zone of influence. It could be deprived of the chances to join NATO or the EU in the coming years or decades, yet there are no forces on earth to make present Ukraine part of the Eurasia project fostered by Putin.

* * *
Watch this video if you
want to learn about the
new, scary propaganda
war between Russia,
The West and the
Baltic States!

* * *
90% of all Lithuanians
believe their government
is corrupt
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

* * *
Lithuanian medical
students say no to
bribes for doctors

On International Anticorruption Day, the Special Investigation Service shifted their attention to medical institutions, where citizens encounter bribery most often. Doctors blame citizens for giving bribes while patients complain that, without bribes, they won't receive proper medical attention. Campaigners against corruption say that bribery would disappear if medical institutions themselves were to take resolute actions against corruption and made an effort to take care of their patients.

* * *
Doing business in Lithuania

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?

During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.

Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?

Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.

* * *
Greetings from Wales!
By Anita Šovaitė-Woronycz
Chepstow, Wales

Think of a nation in northern Europe whose population is around the 3 million mark a land of song, of rivers, lakes, forests, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline a land where mushrooms grow ready for the picking, a land with a passion for preserving its ancient language and culture.

Doesn't that sound suspiciously like Lithuania? Ah, but I didn't mention the mountains of Snowdonia, which would give the game away.

I'm talking about Wales, that part of the UK which Lithuanians used to call "Valija", but later named "Velsas" (why?). Wales, the nation which has welcomed two Lithuanian heads of state to its shores - firstly Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, who has paid several visits and, more recently, President Dalia Grybauskaitė who attended the 2014 NATO summit which was held in Newport, South Wales.

* * *
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

Did you know there is a comment field right after every article we publish? If you read the two above posts, you will see that they both have received many comments. Also YOU are welcome with your comments. To all our articles!
* * *

Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
* * *

As long as VilNews exists,
there is hope for the future
Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, asked us to convey her heartfelt greetings to the other Council Members and to all readers of VilNews.

"My love and best wishes to all. As long as VilNews exists, there is hope for the future,"" she writes.

Irena Veisaite means very much for our publication, and we do hereby thank her for the support and wise commitment she always shows.

You can read our interview with her
* * *
Facing a new reality

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

It's great to see this online resource for people interested in Baltic affairs. I congratulate the editors. From my position as EU Ambassador to Russia, allow me to share some observations.

For a number of years, the EU and Russia had assumed the existence of a strategic partnership, based on the convergence of values, economic integration and increasingly open markets and a modernisation agenda for society.

Our agenda was positive and ambitious. We looked at Russia as a country ready to converge with "European values", a country likely to embrace both the basic principles of democratic government and a liberal concept of the world order. It was believed this would bring our relations to a new level, covering the whole spectrum of the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

* * *

The likelihood of Putin
invading Lithuania
By Mikhail Iossel
Professor of English at Concordia University, Canada
Founding Director at Summer Literary Seminars

The likelihood of Putin's invading Lithuania or fomenting a Donbass-style counterfeit pro-Russian uprising there, at this point, in my strong opinion, is no higher than that of his attacking Portugal, say, or Ecuador. Regardless of whether he might or might not, in principle, be interested in the insane idea of expanding Russia's geographic boundaries to those of the former USSR (and I for one do not believe that has ever been his goal), he knows this would be entirely unfeasible, both in near- and long-term historical perspective, for a variety of reasons. It is not going to happen. There will be no restoration of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical entity.

* * *

Are all Lithuanian energy
problems now resolved?
By Dr. Stasys Backaitis,
P.E., CSMP, SAE Fellow Member of Central and Eastern European Coalition, Washington, D.C., USA

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

Lithuania as a country does not have significant energy resources. Energy consuming infrastructure after WWII was small and totally supported by energy imports from Russia.

First nuclear reactor begins power generation at Ignalina in 1983, the second reactor in 1987. Iganlina generates enough electricity to cover Lithuania's needs and about 50%.for export. As, prerequisite for membership in EU, Ignalina ceases all nuclear power generation in 2009

The Klaipėda Sea terminal begins Russia's oil export operations in 1959 and imports in 1994.

Mazeikiu Nafta (current ORLEAN Lietuva) begins operation of oil refinery in 1980.

* * *

Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

* * *

It's the economy, stupid *
By Valdas (Val) Samonis,

n his article, Val Samonis takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian economy during the period 2000-2015. He argues that the LT policy response (a radical and classical austerity) was wrong and unenlightened because it coincided with strong and continuing deflationary forces in the EU and the global economy which forces were predictable, given the right policy guidance. Also, he makes a point that LT austerity, and the resulting sharp drop in GDP and employment in LT, stimulated emigration of young people (and the related worsening of other demographics) which processes took huge dimensions thereby undercutting even the future enlightened efforts to get out of the middle-income growth trap by LT. Consequently, the country is now on the trajectory (development path) similar to that of a dog that chases its own tail. A strong effort by new generation of policymakers is badly needed to jolt the country out of that wrong trajectory and to offer the chance of escaping the middle-income growth trap via innovations.

* * *

Have you heard about the
South African "Pencil Test"?
By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven't. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >

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مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی گن لاغری شکم بند لاغری تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ بوی دهان بوی بد دهان