Lithuanians in the News
18th August 2019
A High NATO Posting for a Former Member of the Federal Executive of the ALC
Giedrimas Jeglinskas. Photo courtesy Diena.lt
Giedrimas Jeglinskas, Lithuania’s Vice Defence Minister, has been appointed as assistant to NATO's Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, becoming the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Executive Management. When the 40-year old Jeglinskas takes take up his post in October 2019, it will be the first time that a Lithuanian will hold such a high post in the NATO organisation.
Before his appointment to Lithuania’s Defence Ministry, Jeglinskas held a high post with Citibank, as vice president of the Citigroup Corporate Banking. As corporate finance expert for Citibank he had been posted to Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo.
While in Sydney he became an active member of the Australian Lithuanian community and was elected to the Federal Executive of the Australian Lithuanian Community for 2015-2016, taking up the post of Treasurer. Midway through 2016 he resigned his Federal Executive position, as he had to take up a Citibank posting in Poland.

Congratulations, Giedrimai!

Further information:
https://www.lrt.lt/naujienos/news-in-english/19/1077989/lithuanian-vice-defence-minister-appointed-assistant-to-nato-s-stoltenberg
http://www.slic.org.au/News/news_120415.htm

Lithuania in the News
9th June 2019
Gitanas Nausėda Elected as the New Lithuanian President for a Five Year Term
President-elect Gitanas Nausėda in a conference with President Dalia Grybauskaitė.
Photo courtesy lrp.lt/ by Robertas Dačkus
Gitanas Nausėda, an economist, was elected as President of Lithuania for a five year term on May 26, 2019. He will take office on July 12. The outgoing President Dalia Gybauskaitė has been in office for two consecutive five-year terms, the maximum allowed by the constitution.
In the first round of elections it came down to the three main contenders - Gitanas Nausėda, Ingrida Šimonytė, also an economist, and the current Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis. Nausėda and Šimonytė, both to the right of the political spectrum, together resoundingly defeated Skvernelis, who was endorsed by the populist Farmers and Greens party, currently the major party in a coalition government.
In the first round no candidate got an absolute majority. Šimonytė, with 31.6% of the vote, was slightly ahead of Nausėda with 31.2% and Skvernelis was a distant third with 19.7%. In second round Nausėda obtained an overwhelming majority of the vote of 67%, against Šimonytė’s 33%.
The poor showing by Skvernelis was interpreted by many as a huge vote of no-confidence in the current government. This prompted Skvernelis to consider resigning as Prime Minister, though so far he has not done so, and has put the governing coalition into disarray.

Further information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Lithuanian_presidential_election
https://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/lithuania/nauseda-laimi-rinkimus-dideliu-atotrukiu-noriu-padekoti-visiems-konkurentams.d?id=81269357
https://www.lrp.lt/lt/spaudos-centras/pranesimai-spaudai/prezidente-susitiko-su-isrinktuoju-salies-vadovu-gitanu-nauseda/32487


Lithuania in the News
26th May 2019
Lithuania Triumphs at the 58th Venice Biennale As Recipient of the Top Prize, the “Golden Lion”
Lina Lapelytė, Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė and Vaiva Grainytė
holding the ‘Golden Lion’ for the best National Pavilion
in the Venice Biennale. Photo courtesy bernardinai.lt/
Photo by Irmantas Gelūnas
Earlier this month at the world’s most prestigious exhibition for contemporary art, the 58th Venice Biennale, Lithuania’s Pavilion vowed both art critics and the public. Lithuania won the main prize, the “Golden Lion” for the Best National Pavilion, beating 89 other national pavilions, with a contemporary opera/ art performance - “Sun & Sea (Marina)” - created by Lithuanian young women artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė.
This represents a major international triumph for Lithuanian art.
The International Jury, in giving the “Golden Lion” to Lithuania, said it was “for the experimental spirit of the Pavilion and its unexpected treatment of national representation. The jury was impressed with the inventive use of the venue to present a Brechtian opera as well as the Pavilion’s engagement with the city of Venice and its inhabitants. Sun & Sea (Marina) is a critique of leisure and of our times as sung by a cast of performers and volunteers portraying everyday people”.
The Venice Biennale was opened on May 11, 2019. Lithuania’s opera/ art performance will be staged every Saturday until Biennale’s closure in 6 months time. During the performance singers sing about climate change, ecological issues and the fragility of life,
The ‘Golden Lion’. Photo courtesy bernardinai.lt/ Photo by Irmantas Gelūnas
lurching from one holiday to another. At the same time, the audience can observe people relaxing on a day out to the sea shore, carrying on with the everyday normal things that people do on a beach.
Prestigious art publications such as “Frieze” and the “Art Newspaper”, even before the exhibition opened, heaped praise on Lithuania’s Pavilion. Rumours about Lithuania’s outstanding pavilion went from mouth to mouth, so that huge queues greeted its opening. “Performances such as this are diamonds, the most delicate art form” – proclaimed the Italian press.
This win signifies that art in Lithuania has achieved high status in the art world. During the presentation of the award, Lithuania’s Minister of Culture, Mindaugas Kvietkauskas ecstatically proclaimed, that it means that contemporary art in Lithuania is recognised internationally as outstanding. He pointed out that Lithuania “has been the first to be recognised among the Baltic countries and our whole region”.

Further information;
1. https://www.labiennale.org/en/news/biennale-arte-2019-official-awards
2. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/11/arts/venice-biennale-winner.html
3. https://en.delfi.lt/culture/lithuanian-pavilion-opens-at-venice-biennale.d?id=81141819#cxrecs_s
4. http://www.bernardinai.lt/straipsnis/2019-05-11-venecijos-bienaleje-auksini-liuta-laimejo-lietuvos-paviljonas/175776
5. http://www.bernardinai.lt/straipsnis/2019-05-14-venecijos-auksinio-liuto-laureatai-sugrizo-i-lietuva/175800
6. https://www.lrt.lt/naujienos/kultura/12/1058171/venecijos-bienaleje-lietuvos-paviljono-triumfas-auksinis-liutas-uz-nacionalini-pasirodyma


Lithuania in the News
24th February 2019
Lithuania’s Independence Day Celebrated with a Special Concert by Plácido Domingo, the World-famous Opera Tenor
President Dalia Grybauskaitė (centre) meeting Plácido Domingo (left)
and Violeta Urmana (right). Photo courtesy lrp.lt/Robertas Dačkus
The world’s most famous opera singer Plácido Domingo had said that he had always wanted to give a concert in Lithuania, but on the condition that he could bring along with him Lithuania’s own world-renown soprano Violeta Urmanavičiūtė-Urmana.
This happy event eventuated a week ago on Saturday, February 16, on the 101th anniversary of the reestablishment of Lithuania’s Independence. This superb concert took place in the Kaunas Žalgiris Arena to a capacity audience. Performing together with Plácido Domingo and Violeta Urmana was the opera star Ana María Martínez and Spanish conductor Jordi Bernáce, with the Lithuanian State Orchestra.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė also meeting Jordi Bernáce (left)
and Ana María Martínez. Photo courtesy lrp.lt/Robertas Dačkus
Prior to the concert President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Plácido Domingo and the other performers in the Presidential Place in Vilnius. President Grybauskaitė declared, “that the concert carries great symbolic meaning because exactly one hundred years ago Kaunas was designated as the provisional capital of Lithuania, emerging a national centre of national cultural activity.”
With more than 3900 career performances to his credit, Plácido Domingo is not only renowned as one of the world finest opera tenors, but is also a conductor of operas and symphonic concerts and a patron of young talents.
The President noted that “Plácido Domingo’s concert promoted Lithuania as a country of deep-rooted opera traditions and passionate opera lovers”. Lithuania has indeed a long history of opera appreciation, with one of the first operas in Europe staged in Vilnius in the 17th century.

Further information:
https://www.lrp.lt/en/press-centre/press-releases/the-presidente-met-with-the-king-of-opera-placido-domingo/31853
http://kauno.diena.lt/naujienos/kaunas/menas-ir-pramogos/operos-karaliaus-p-domingo-koncertas-kaune-suzavejo-publika-901665
https://www.delfi.lt/kultura/naujienos/lietuvoje-pirmakart-viesintis-operos-zvaigzde-placido-domingo-seniai-sakiau-violetai-kad-turime-atvykti.d?id=80372747

Lithuanians in the News
13th January 2019
Australian Lithuanian Sydney Artist Eva Kubbos Honoured by a Retrospective Exhibition in Vilnius
Portrait of Eva Kubbos by fellow Sydney Australian Lithuanian artist
Leeka Kraucevičiūtė – Gruzdeff. Photo courtesy Kasiulis Museum
A retrospective exhibition of the works of the distinguished Australian Lithuanian artist Eva Kubbos was opened at the Vytautas Kasiulis art museum in Vilnius on December 20, 2018.
The exhibition, “Eva Kubbos: tarp horizontų (between horizons)”, will be open for three months until March 10, 2019. It is a fitting tribute to the artist in her 90th year and in conjunction with Lithuania’s 100th Independence Anniversary celebrations during 2018. Taking part in the press conference during the opening of the exhibition were the director of the Vytautas Kasiulis museum, Ilona Mažeikienė, with curator of the exhibition, Regina Urbonienė. Ilona’s and Regina’s recent visit to Australia made this exhibition possible. Vytas Juška, former President of the Sydney Lithuanian Community and currently residing in Vilnius, shared reminiscences of Eva Kubbos and the Sydney artistic scene during his time in Sydney.
“Without a name”, an abstract by Eva Kubbos.
Photo courtesy Kasiulis Museum
Eva Kubbos was born in Lithuania, received her early training in post-war Germany and has lived in Australia since 1949, settling in Sydney in 1960. During a distinguished artistic career she has been a foundation member of the Sydney Printmakers Society, a member of the Contemporary Art Society since 1961 and of the Australian Watercolour Institute since 1963. She has been a winner of the prestigious Wynne Prize by Art Gallery of NSW in 1963, 1970, 1971 and 1979. The Pring Prize, for the best landscape executed in watercolour by a woman, was awarded to her eight times between 1970 and 1984. She has taken part in numerous personal and group exhibitions in Australia and overseas. (For further information please see on this website: Culture/ Arts/ Eva Kubbos).

Further information:
https://www.ldm.lt/paroda-eva-kubbos-tarp-horizontu/
http://www.slic.org.au/Culture/Eva.htm

Lithuania in the News
18th November 2018
Lithuania Presented as a Leading European Centre in FinTech at China’s International Import Expo
President Dalia Grybauskaitė greeted by President Xi Jinping.
Photo courtesy lrp.lt/ Robertas Dačkus
Signalling China’s opening of its markets to foreign imports, China’s first International Import Expo (CIIE) was held at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai November 5 – 10, 2018. It was opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping. 130 countries took part in CIIE, with presentations by 2800 companies.
Lithuania’s President Grybauskaitė lead a Lithuanian trade delegation to CIIE and opened one of the three international forums on trade and investment. She was the first international leader to meet with President Xi, who stressed that Lithuania is an important country in its region and can play an important role in the interaction between Asia and Europe.
At a special FinTech (Financial Technologies) meeting in Shanghai, which was attended by 150 Chinese companies, President Grybauskaitė presented Lithuania as a hi-tech country, with a high reputation as a European leader in the rapidly developing technology of FinTech, which is the technology of applying digital technologies to the financial sector. Last year Lithuania’s FinTech industry grew 40%. It now encompasses 150 companies, including 6 Chinese ones. With a population of just under 3 million, Lithuania has nearly 2000 people working in FinTech. More generally, there are over 30,000 IT professionals working in Lithuania, with nearly another 10,000 soon to join the work force.
Lithuania is also at the forefront of blockchain technology, an exciting new development to store and convey data securely via the internet. Blockchain technology is set to revolutionise how the internet will be used in the future and will be very important to FinTech. Since January this year, Lithuania has already been hosting Europe’s first International Blockchain Centre, networked to similar centres in Shanghai and Melbourne in Australia.
President Grybauskaitė’s CIIE visit was sandwiched between two important ICT conferences in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius. The Baltic States’ largest ICT and innovation conference “#SWITCH!” was held on September 20 in Vilnius. It was then followed by the FinTech Inn conference on November 8 in Vilnius, the largest FinTech event in the Baltic region, attended by about 1,300 delegates. It is clear that there is a FinTech boom in Lithuania and Lithuania is positioning itself as the FinTech leader in the Nordic-Baltic region.
As put by the Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, FinTech is one of three “breakthrough areas” that Lithuania is keen to develop. The other two are laser technology and biochemistry. China is already the third biggest importer of Lithuanian-made lasers, making up 12% of Lithuanian laser exports.

Further information:
1. https://www.lrp.lt/en/press-centre/press-releases/lithuania-presented-as-european-fintech-hub/31290
2. https://www.lrp.lt/en/press-centre/press-releases/lithuanian-exports-to-china-have-the-highest-political-support/31285
3. https://emerging-europe.com/news/lithuanias-fintech-boom/
4. https://en.delfi.lt/lithuania/economy/fintech-in-lithuania-can-we-take-the-leading-position-already.d?id=78982761
5. https://www.businessinsider.my/unpay-and-president-of-lithuania-in-talks-on-possible-fintech-cooperation/
6. https://www.bankingtech.com/2018/11/fintech-inn-2018-why-lithuania-has-enlisted-the-stig/
7. https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2018/11/09/unpay-and-president-of-lithuania-in-talks-on-possible-fintech-cooperation/
8. https://cryptonews.com/news/first-european-blockchain-centre-launches-in-vilnius-1103.htm

Lithuania in the News
23rd September 2018
New Digital Life Given to the Image of Divine Mercy in Vilnius
Divine Mercy 3D © VGTU LinkMenų fabrikas
For the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to Lithuania, September 22 - 23, 2018, Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius is bringing religion into the digital age with an exciting new virtual reality project - a 3D version of the Shrine of Divine Mercy, complete with the world-famous image of Divine Mercy. Different versions of the painting can be found in Catholic churches throughout the world, although few know it originated in Vilnius. Painted in 1934 in Vilnius, the image of Divine Mercy has become an icon for Catholics around the world and is one of the Catholicism’s most sacred treasures.
Vilnius’ Mayor, Remigijus Šimašius, said: “Historically, religion always played a big role in Vilnius. The image of Divine Mercy that originated here has had a huge impact, spreading to churches all over the world. .... Now, with the help of technology, we hope to bring it back to life again so that millions can enjoy it. It’s an example that shows religion and technology can co-exist, and also perfectly represents how Vilnius is moving into the future with creativity and ingenuity without forgetting about our past.”
The project has been the initiative of Go Vilnius (the city’s tourism and business development agency) and carried out by VGTU’s LinkMenų fabrikas, the innovation and creativity centre of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) with support of Drone Team, a local 3D scanning and modelling company. VGTU LinkMenų fabrikas team used cutting-edge technology to meticulously scan every millimetre of the painting and all its surroundings in order to create a virtual environment that mirrors the shrine in every way. For last Christmas the team had also created the ground breaking nano-sized nativity scene. (See on this website, News, January 7, 2018 – “The 2017 Vilnius Christmas Festivities Astound the World”).
Boasting picturesque churches and narrow cobbled streets, Vilnius is a vibrant city of contrasts. The city attracts over 1 million tourists every year, with over 30,000 pilgrims. Vilnius has been an important religious destination for over 400 years. With its rich history and unique mosaic of churches, the image of Divine Mercy serves as the ultimate site of pilgrimage in the city, with visitors travelling many thousands of miles to see the painting and ask for blessing.
Vilnius has embraced the digital age, becoming a hi-tech hub and showcasing its use of innovative technologies in different areas, including religion.
Just recently August 24 -26, Melbourne in Australia hosted the 4th Oceania Apostolic Congress of Mercy, which was attended by the Archbishop of Vilnius Gintaras Grušas and Lithuanian Parliamentarian Rita Tamašunienė. They encouraged religious tourism to Lithuania, in particular to experience Vilnius as a witness to Divine Mercy. Rita Tamašunienė also met up with Lithuanian communities in Melbourne and Sydney.

This news item is based in part on a press release by Go Vilnius, September 21, 2018.
CONTACT - Gintarė Kavaliūnaitė, Go Vilnius Public Relations Manager, phone. +370 617 45202, email: gintare.kavaliunaite@vilnius.lt , website: www.govilnius.lt
Further information:
The 3D format of the Shrine of Divine Mercy is available for the whole world to see under www.divinemercy3d.com
Video on how the Divine Mercy image and Divine Mercy Shrine was recreated in 3D: https://youtu.be/Zd-N8jbpPxw
Divine Mercy story and pilgrimage in Vilnius: www.cityofmercy.lt
Vilnius pilgrim route: http://vilnius-tourism.lt/en/what-to-see/latest-tips/experience-a-history-of-your-own-pilgrimage-in-vilnius-2/


Lithuania in the News
2nd September 2018
Important Historic Visit by Israel PM Netanyahu to Lithuania
(L-R) Israel Ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon,
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė.
Photo courtesy lrp.lt/ Robertas Dačkus
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has completed a historic 4 day visit to Lithuania August 23-26, 2018. He met with Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and took part in a high level summit with the three prime ministers of the Baltic States. This is the first time that an Israeli Prime Minister has visited Lithuania. The importance of this visit is shown by the fact that, in spite of his undoubtedly very busy schedule and heavy workload, Prime Minister Netanyahu felt it important to spend 4 days in Lithuania.
Lithuania has become an important mediator in the relations between Israel and the European Union. In Lithuania, Netanyahu thanked Lithuania numerous times for its support for Israel in various EU forums. He said Israel is badly misunderstood in the EU, while Israel’s intelligence services are saving European lives, and he stated that “it is time that Europe understood this.”
In Prime Minister Netanyahu’s discussions with Lithuania’s President and Prime Minister, strengthening mutual relations in many areas was raised - in defence, economy, cyber security, science and innovations, culture and tourism. This year, Israel took part in the military exercise “Saber Strike” in Lithuania for the first time. The ties between Israel and Lithuania are expected to get stronger and stronger.
Many Israeli citizens are Litvaks – descendents of Lithuanian Jews – including Yetanyahu himself, who is a Litvak from both sides of his family and also traces descent from the very famous Vilna Gaon, an outstanding rabbi and scholar in 18th Century Vilnius. Israeli Litvaks are now showing great interest to visit their historic homeland. From October there will now be five flights a week between Israel and Lithuania.
During the visit, preserving the memory of Holocaust victims and promoting Litvak culture were high on the agenda. PM Skvernelis stated, that “Holocaust is among the most painful and horrible tragedies in the history of Lithuania”, when most of Lithuania’s Jews were massacred. PM Skvernelis together with PM Netanyahu took part in ceremonies at the Paneriai Memorial in Vilnius to commemorate Holocaust victims and also to honour as “Righteous Among the Nations” Lithuanians who had risked their lives in saving Jews. In Europe, Lithuania has the largest number of its citizens per capita recognised as “Righteous Among the Nations”.
PM Netanyahu thanked the Lithuanian government for its strong stance against anti-Semitism and for the extraordinary love and respect shown to Israel. He left very impressed by what he had seen and experienced in Lithuania.

Further information:
https://www.lrp.lt/en/press-centre/press-releases/lithuania-supports-international-effort-to-secure-peace-in-the-middle-east/30734
http://lrv.lt/en/news/prime-minister-israel-is-our-strategic-partner-in-the-middle-east-region
http://lrv.lt/en/news/prime-minister-all-four-countries-share-regional-security-challenges
https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Netanyahu-It-is-time-for-Europe-to-appreciate-Israels-life-saving-intel-565842
https://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/lithuania/ar-lietuva-taps-izraelio-pleistu-europos-sajungoje-kokia-zinia-natanyahu-siuncia-saviskiams.d?id=78910201
https://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/lithuania/netanyahu-tautieciams-mane-labai-sujaudino-vizitas-i-lietuva.d?id=78914325


Lithuania in the News
10th June 2018
Lithuania Joins the OECD
The signing ceremony.
Photo courtesy lrp.lt/Robertas Dačkus
At the end of May Lithuania was admitted to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the 36th member of the organisation which represents highly developed countries.
This body has been the last important international organisation for Lithuania to join, after the UN, NATO and the European Union, to confirm its status as a country ”that punches above its weight” in international affairs.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė signed the OECD accession papers at the OECD headquarters in Paris on May 30. At the accession ceremony President Grybauskiaitė was warmly congratulated French President Emmanuel Macron and the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria. No other country had managed to go through the OECD application process as speedily as Lithuania has done.
According to President Grybauskaitė, “the OECD is a highly influential organization, as it is de facto secretariat for the Group of Seven powerful states and an idea forum for the G20. Therefore, the membership will provide Lithuania with more possibilities to contribute to shaping global economy”.

Further information:
https://www.lrp.lt/en/press-centre/press-releases/oecd-membership-finalizes-lithuanias-establishment-in-global-organizations/30093