Lithuania in the News
23rd August 2020
2020 Elections to Lithuanian Parliament
Australian Lithuanians and all Lithuanians in the Lithuanian diaspora around the world are strongly urged to vote in the forthcoming elections to the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas).
The elections will be held on October 11, 2020 and the deadline for registering to vote is September 11, 2020.
After many years of lobbying, Lithuanians living abroad have succeeded to have a seat in parliament reserved for representation of all the Lithuanians abroad. So this is the first election that there will be Member of Parliament (Seimas) elected by Lithuanians living abroad. Participation by Australian Lithuanians in this election is very important as a strong participation will strengthen the plans to establish a Lithuanian Embassy in Canberra. More generally it will strengthen the relationship of Lithuania with the Lithuanian diaspora and will help to ensure that there continues to be a Seimas member representing the diaspora.
For more information please see the Announcements on this website.


Lithuanians in the Community
4th July 2020
Australian Lithuanian Community of Sydney Elects a New Committee
(L-R) – Šarūnas Rimša (president), Aida Abromienė (treasurer), Jūratė Rimšienė (member), Ramona Zakarevičienė (member for special projects),
Dr. Alfonsas Stonis (vice-president), Justė Stonienė (member). (Absent) Veronika Daukaitė (secretary). Photo courtesy “Mūsų Pastogė”.
The Australian Lithuanian Community of Sydney was due to hold its Annual General Meeting for 2019 on March 29, 2020, but the AGM had to be rescheduled to a later date due to the coronavirus crisis. The rescheduled AGM was finally held on Sunday, June 29, 2020.

The meeting elected a new Committee for ALC – Sydney Inc.:

Šarūnas Rimša (president),
Dr. Alfonsas Stonis (vice-president),
Veronika Daukaitė (secretary),
Aida Abromienė (treasurer),
Jūratė Rimšienė (member),
Justė Stonienė (member).
Ramona Zakarevičienė (member for special projects).
For the Auditors elected were Dan Bieri and Jonas Penkaitis.


Lithuanians in the News
3rd May 2020
Books on Australian Lithuanians Featured at the 2020 Vilnius Book Fair
At the presentation of “In Sunshine and Shadow”.
(L-R) The moderator Dr. Lina Leparskienė, Dr Eve Puodžiūnaitė Wicks
and interpreter Judita Gliauberzonaitė. Photo courtesy Eve Wicks
Two recently published books about Australian Lithuanians have featured prominently at the 2020 Vilnius Book Fair, 20-23 February 2020. The Vilnius Book Fair is a major annual event in Lithuania’s cultural calendar. Lithuanians eagerly look forward to it. According to the Book Fair organisers, this year over the four days there were a record 72,930 visitors, 380 exhibitors from 9 countries, 646 events, and 65 guests from 24 countries. Authors endeavour to present their recently published works at the Book Fair.
This year the Book Fair featured “Saulėje ir šešėlyje. In Sunshine and Shadow”, by Dr. Eve Puodžiūnaitė Wicks and “Terra Australis Incognita”, edited by Ilona Mažeikienė and Regina Urbonienė. “Terra Australis Incognita” was the subject of an earlier News item on this website (Lithuanians in the News, December 15, 2019 ). The Brisbane resident Eve Puodžiūnaitė Wicks made a special trip to Vilnius to the Book Fair to present her book. The presentation by Ilona Mažeikienė and Regina Urbonienė was honoured by the presence of Dr Arūnas Gelūnas, the Director of the Lithuanian Art Museum, who had been enthusiastic in getting the book published. Vytas Juška, a former President of the Australian Lithuanian Community of Sydney, and currently a Vilnius resident, was also present at both book presentations.
Eve’s book is a beautifully produced book, describing the tribulations of Lithuanians settling in Queensland. In a thought provoking review of Eve’s book Dr. Lina Leparskienė, of the Lithuanian National Culture Centre and Literature and Folklore Institute, states: “The book is an aesthetic production, and its spacious layout invites the readers to take their time and read the book slowly and attentively. ......
The texts about the experiences of Lithuanians slowly putting down roots in Australia and the author’s exploration of her own Lithuanian background are temperate and empathetic. …...
In truth the book conveys insightful witness accounts and thoughtful descriptions, all depicting the reality of the subject’s lives; so the book is more than a documented history. As you go through this substantial book’s nine chapters, it’s like walking around a table, on which objects or photographs are displayed, each telling a new story from the lives of the émigré Lithuanians.”

Eve’s book is based in part on Eve’s thesis for her PhD from Griffith University in Queensland, which was awarded to her this year.

Congratulations, Eve !

Further information:
Dr. Leparskienė’s review can be found on http://www.bernardinai.lt/straipsnis/2020-02-26-knygos-sauleje-ir-seselyje-pamastymai-apie-lietuviu-imigrantu-gyvenima-sutiktuves/179223

Lithuanians in the News
15th December 2019
“Terra Australis Incognita” Honours Australian Lithuanian Artists
Australian Lithuanian artists have been honoured in the recently published, magnificently produced art book “Terra Australis Incognita - Lietuvių menininkai Australijoje / Lithuanian artists in Australia”, published in Lithuania. The book’s cover is decorated by an impressive abstract work, “Desert”, by the distinguished Australian Lithuanian artist, Vaclovas Ratas.
There are 21 artists included in the book: Vaclovas Ratas, Henrikas Šalkauskas, Eva Kubbos, Jurgis Mikševičius, Vincas Jomantas, Laima Jomantienė, Jurgis Janavičius, Jolanta Janavičienė, Kazys Kemežys, Adolfas Vaičaitis, Viktoras Simankevičius, Leeka Gruzdeff, Dalia Antanaitienė, Faustas Sadauskas, Akvilė Zavišaitė, Mindaugas Simankevičius, Rasa Mauragis, Eve Wicks, Jazmina Cininas, Ashley Mackevičius, Ingrid Skirka.

The book has been edited by Ilona Mažeikienė and Regina Urbonienė of the Vytautas Kasiulis Museum in Vilnius, which is part of the Lithuanian Art Museum, specialising in works of Lithuanian Artists outside Lithuania. Ilona and Regina made a special trip to Australia in October last year, to evaluate and collect material for this work.
The introduction to “Terra Australis Incognita” was written by Roger Butler AM, Senior Curator of Australian Prints at the National Gallery of Australia, together with Yvette Dal Pozzo, Curatorial Assistant, also at the National Gallery of Australia. In the introduction they point out the impact that postwar émigré Lithuanian Australian artists have had in Australia and the younger generation continue to make:

“Chief among the Baltic States in the visual arts in Australia were Lithuanians. ... their most profound influence was in printmaking.“ and “Lithuanian Australian artists had a clear impact on the Australian art world, experimenting in their chosen media and receiving national accolades.” Also they point out that “In recent years, initiatives in the home countries of the émigré artists have led to a revaluation of their work. This attention has bolstered the reputation of the postwar generation, as well as supporting a new generation of Lithuanian Australian artists, ...”

Publication details:
Published by Lithuanian Art Museum, Vilnius, 2019. 352 pages
Printer – “Standartų Spaustuvė”
ISBN - 978-609-426-139-5


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