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    Lithuania’s Transformation After Soviet Union

    His Excellency Rolandas Kriščiūnas, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States of America and to the United Mexican States, spoke at The University of Scranton’s sixth annual Jay Nathan, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar Lecture Series.
    May 15, 2019
    By: Eric Eiden ’19, student correspondent

     

    His Excellency Rolandas Kriščiūnas, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States of America and to the United Mexican States, spoke at The University of Scranton’s sixth annual Jay Nathan Lecture Series titled “Lithuania: Traditional and Modern Nation.”

    “In general I’d say Lithuanian’s are humble people, but we do believe in our hearts that we need to make the world a better place for everybody,” Ambassador Kriščiūnas said.

    The lecture began with a welcome from Charles E. Kratz, dean of the library and information fluency, and a short video on Lithuania, covering the history of the country and geographical features.

    After World War I, Lithuania’s Act of Independence was signed in February 1918, but during the World War II the country was occupied by the Soviet Union then Nazi Germany. When Nazi Germany fell, the Soviets reoccupied Lithuania until of March 1990, when Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union as the first Baltic state.

    “If you look at Lithuania today, last year we celebrated our centennial, the restoration of independence in Lithuania back in 1918,” Ambassador Kriščiūnas said. “We spent quite a substantial part of that centennial fighting for our freedom.”

    Soviet troops stayed in Lithuania until 1993, causing altercations with its citizens. Now Lithuania remains a peaceful nation, part of the United Nations, with the country joining NATO and the European Union in 2004.

    Ambassador Kriščiūnas discussed Lithuania’s rapidly increasing tech industry at the lecture. Fintech, a technology used to improve finance, has 117 firms across Lithuania employing more than 2,000 people, according to the Lithuania Fintech Report 2017.

    “Today we do believe and always believe that we love freedom and we love peace. Lithuania is not a threat to anyone and it will never be,” Ambassador Kriščiūnas said. “We would like to see our neighbors living in peace, cherishing freedom and building a future.”

    The lecture featured a musical performance by soprano Kristina Malinauskaitė, a participant in the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Opera Education Program and dell Arte Opera Ensemble; and a reading by poet Carol Lasata Gargan, Ph.D.

    A reception followed the lecture in the McIlhenny Ballroom in the DeNaples Center.

    The Jay Nathan, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar Lecture Series invites international scholars from emerging democracies and countries in political and economic transition to visit the University to address issues that will enlighten and benefit students, faculty and the community at large. While visiting the campus, scholars deliver presentations on topics of interest to the academic community and meet informally with attendees, students and faculty.

     

    Eric Eiden ’19, Throop, is a journalism/electronic media major at The University of Scranton.
    Eric Eiden ’19, Throop, is a journalism/electronic media major at The University of Scranton.
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