This year Lithuania celebrates a world-renowned American-Lithuanian archaeologist, anthropologist, a pioneer of archaeomithology, Marija Birutė Alseikaitė-Gimbutienė (Marija Gimbutas).
Marija Birutė Alseikaitė-Gimbutienė was born on January 23, 1921 in Vilnius. She began to study at Vilnius Vytautas Magnus Gymnasium. In 1931, the family moved to the provisional capital of Lithuania, Kaunas. There, Gimbutienė studied at Aušra Gymnasium, which she finished in 1938. In the same year she started studying linguistics at the Faculty of Humanities of Vytautas Magnus University. In 1936, she participated in archeological research in Lithuania, in 1938-1939, she took part in the excavation works of prehistoric burial grounds in Kaunas. After Lithuania regained Vilnius, Gimbutienė went to study archeology at Vilnius University. In 1942, she defended her MA thesis “Modes of Burials in Lithuania in the Iron Age.” In 1944, when the Soviets were approaching Lithuania, the Gimbutas family left the country.
In recent years, an increasing number of foreigners has been interested in the Lithuanian language and Lithuania. People want to learn the language for different reasons. If in the past a lot of foreigners wanted to study the Lithuanian language because it was the mother tongue of their significant other, today a large number of students search for their Lithuanian roots and identity.
On January, Vytautas Magnus University Academy of Education, in cooperation with the National Library of Lithuania, organized a virtual forum, “Teaching the Language in the 21st Century: Current Experiences and Future Trends,” in which researchers talked about multilingualism, language learning, the survival of a native language in the 21st century, Lithuanian education in the world, and the importance of creativity and innovations teaching the language.
This year, the researchers of the National Library of Lithuania have been giving lectures to students of the Lithuanian Saturday schools abroad on the topics of Lithuanian cultural history, language and literature.
The archive of Justė Kostikovaitė, the cultural attaché of the Republic of Lithuania in the United Kingdom, covering the period from 2016 to 2020, has arrived at the National Library of Lithuania. Kostikovaitė noted that during the four years of her term as a cultural attaché, the need for contemporary cultural content had arisen. The events focused on the virtual content distribution have become very important, particularly during the on-going pandemic.
While in the office, Kostikovaitė was able to introduce new communication tools now used by almost the entire network of Lithuanian cultural attachés. One of them is an e-newsletter, which helps to inform the audience about Lithuania. There is also a huge array of archival and communication material in social media, such as a Facebook “Lithuanian Art and Culture in the UK,” Twitter—“@LtCultureUK,” and Instagram—“lithuanian_art_in_the_uk,” created and administered by Kostikovaitė.
Kostikovaitė also noted that in recent years there has been a great need to form a digital archive of cultural and other special attachés, which currently contains a large number of material on dissemination and documentation of the events.