Sunday, February 11. (Washington). President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus currenty on a visit to the United States of America on Saturday evening (local time) participated in an annual festive event of the US – Baltic Foundation where Lithuania was presented to the numerous American public, politicians, media members and business representatives.
At the event, President Adamkus received the Baltic Statemanship Award presented by the well-known US public figure and political scientist, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Presenting the award, Mr. Brzezinski said to President Adamkus that he met quite a number of Presidents in his life but he felt a special emotional connection with Mr. Adamkus.
Mr. Brzezinski noted that since 1990 he experienced two important events: independence of Poland and freedom of the Baltic States. He mentioned that those years brought the feeling that vital things changing the course of history were happening. According to Mr. Brzezinski, history had not ended yet and no country could feel secure if its neighbors were not secure.
He said that it was great honor for him to award the Lithuanian President when our country was a member of the EU and NATO. Mr. Brzezinski noted that Lithuania was a close partner of Poland, it made a significant contribution to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, to freedom and continued to fight for freedom and development of democracy in the neighboring states.
Accepting the Baltic Statemanship Award, President Adamkus pointed out that since 1991 Lithuania had traversed a long road to reclaim its independence taken away by force and conspiracy.
“We have built a competitive market economy on the new foundation of free and private initiative and we have educated a new generation of Lithuanians who I believe will never have to fear for the survival of their culture and identity. We have never given up our principles and values for narrow pragmatic interests, cheaper oil or gas. With only a little bit of experience, we rallied the people and returned Lithuania to the path of international politics and the family of Euro-Atlantic nations,” said President Adamkus.
President noted that our belief in the future of our nation was upheld by several generations of Lithuanian emigrants who preserved their love for Homeland and who worked together to help attain Lithuania‘s ultimate foreign goals: membership in NATO and the European Union. Our belief would have never been so strong without the US policy of non-recognition of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic countries, without the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe broadcasting unimpeded thought and word to Lithuania. President said he believed that the last barrier between our two countries – the visa regime – would be removed in the near future.
”On the other hand, some things have not changed over these years: first and foremost, the fostering of common values dear to both Lithuania and the United States, the wish to maintain and strengthen the transatlantic link between Europe and the United States, and the desire to expand democracy and well-being in Eastern Europe and beyond,” said President Adamkus.
“Today small democracies like Lithuania and its neighbors can make a major contribution to global security if they work side by side with other democracies,” believes Mr. Adamkus.
The Lithuanian President pointed out that friendly mutual help between Lithuania and the United States of America, creativity and the wish to supplement each other‘s efforts would always bear more importance than a country’s size or political weight.
„“The 21st century will not tolerate new dividing lines and authoritarian regimes in Europe. Close cooperation between Europe and the United States has always been the guarantor of a free and united Europe,” said the Head of State.
He reminded the audience the words of the most outstanding Lithuanian poets, Justinas Marcinkevi?ius, who said at the start of Lithuania’s road to national revival: “Our work, creative spirit, concord and endurance will rekindle and reawaken all that is still glowing within our souls, nation and Homeland.”
“Even today these words sound prophetic. Through our work we have to inspire confidence in freedom and liberty. We have to establish a diversity of ideals and beliefs as the foundation of a free and independent society,” said President Adamkus.
On Sunday the Lithuanian President will attend the Lithuanian Mass at the Basilica of National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and will visit Šiluva Chapel in the church. President Adamkus will also visit the Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre where he will meet with the Lithuanian American community living in Washington.