Lithuanians in the News
8th February 2009
A Millennium Award to Australian Lithuanian Gabrielius Žemkalnis
Foreign Minister Vygaudas Ušackas (left) presenting the award to
Gabrielius Žemkalnis.
Photo courtesy Foreign Affairs Ministry of Lithuania.
The award of “Lithuania’s Millennium Star” was bestowed on Gabrielius Žemkalnis on February 2, 2009, by Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Vygaudas Ušackas. Gabrielius Žemkalnis is a former resident of Melbourne, who currently is the representative in Lithuania of the World Lithuanian Community (WLC).
Lithuania’s Millennium Star award has been instigated by the Foreign Ministry of Lithuania and is awarded to Lithuanians and non-Lithuanians for exceptional efforts in publicising Lithuania, fostering and developing international relations, or exceptional public service. This is the third Millennium Star award in this 2009 Millennium Year. The other two award winners so far this year have been the famous Lithuanian athlete and Olympics gold winner, Virgilijus Alekna, and the celebrated Lithuanian documentary film maker, Arūnas Matelis.
In presenting the award, the Foreign Minister noted Žemkalnis’ efforts towards the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, unifying Lithuanians abroad and his many years of service to Lithuania. When living in Melbourne, Gabrielius Žemkalnis was a very active member of the Australian Lithuanian community and is a former president of the WLC. For many years Australian Lithuanians have been enjoying his weekly review of news events in Lithuania on the SBS Lithuanian language radio programme.

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