On October 25, a doctorate student of Vytautas Magnus University, Egidijus Balandis, successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis “Sport in the Social Fabric of Lithuanian-Americans in the Early 20th Century.”
Using the history of sport, Balandis analyzes the activities of Lithuanian-American
organizations and civic participation of Lithuanians in American life. The main
goal of his thesis is to explore the role of sport in a wider social fabric of
Lithuanian-Americans of the early 20th century. Balandis looks at the attempts
by Lithuanian-Americans to establish contacts and accumulate social capital
through sport organizations, competitions, the non-sport activities of Lithuanian-American
athletics clubs and the celebrities of that time. Using archival sources,
periodicals and historiography, the author analyzes the by-laws of Lithuanian-American
sport clubs, features of self-governance, various forms of activities, social
functions, and their involvement in building social networks and relations with
a broader part of the civil society of Lithuanian diaspora. In doing so, he
tries to answer the question what role did sport play in social networks of
ideologically oriented Lithuanian-American movements, and what attitudes they held
towards sport and sport activities. Balandis also investigates the attempts of
the Lithuanian-American media and more famous athletes and fans to construct
the portraits of sport heroes and their intentions to use these portraits as
both an opportunity to bring Lithuanians together and as a tool of social
control applied on different diaspora layers.
On October 11, Monika Šipelytė, a doctorate student of Vilnius University, defended her Ph.D. thesis on the topic of political and diplomatic activities of Lithuanians in Switzerland in 1915-1919 and their impact on the statehood of Lithuania. The dissertation analyzes in depth the early emigration of Lithuanians to Switzerland and their political aspirations, actions, and achievements during the WWI. More specific activities, such as international and national conferences, development and dissemination of state projects, publishing, and internal and external correspondence are discussed in five chronologically arranged chapters.
The travelling exhibition
“We Created the Lithuanian State Together: The Lithuanian-American Community,
Inc. 1951-2018” at the National Library of Lithuania highlights the fact that
Lithuanian-Americans have always kept close contact with the homeland and have
contributed to country’s development.
is an integral part of Lithuanian history. Despite the geographical distance, the
Lithuanian immigrants tirelessly worked on behalf of Lithuania. Various initiatives
of many relief organizations, the financial support, active propaganda work, and
the establishment and strengthening of political, economic, and cultural
relations between the US and Lithuania are undeniable evidence of the united
struggle for Lithuanian independence.
Fighting for the
independence of Lithuania was one of the main goals of the Lithuanian-American
Community, Inc. founded in 1951. When Lithuania regained its independence, the LAC,
which unites all Lithuanians living in the US, has actively cooperated with the
homeland and its institutions, contributed to the development of ties between
Lithuanian and the US government and business representatives.
Today, the ultimate
goal of the LAC is to preserve Lithuanian culture and traditions and pass it
onto the future generations. The organization’s main emphasis is on Lithuanian
education, cultural, scientific, social, economic, religious, and sport and
other activities in the US. It cooperates with other Lithuanian-American
organizations, the US non-governmental organizations, and introduces Americans
to Lithuania. Americans of Lithuanian descent and their non-Lithuanian spouses
are also welcomed in the LAC.
The exhibition, which
runs at the Library until the end of May, testifies to the glorious history of
the LAC and introduces to its past and present activities.
This year, two capital books about Lithuanian-American contribution to Lithuania’s statehood and independence were published in Lithuania.
The first book, Long Live Lithuania! Lithuanian American Contribution to Lithuania’s Statehood is a compilation of documents, discussions, articles, correspondence and comments of various US governmental institutions and Lithuanian-American Community, Inc. related to the long-standing efforts by Lithuanian-Americans to fight for Lithuania’s freedom. The compiler of the book, Regina Narusis, JD, the chairman of the Royal Palace Restoration Committee for the USA and along-time chairman of Lithuanian-American Community, Inc. and World Lithuanian Community, hopes that the new book will contribute to a better understanding of Lithuanian-American input into the restoration and consolidation of Lithuania’s statehood from the late 19th century to the present day.
The second book, Lithuanian American Support for Lithuania 1918-2018 by prof. Juozas Skirius, based on archival documents, periodicals, memoirs and other sources, sheds light on the activities of Lithuanian-Americans from 1918 to 2018. The author distinguishes three main periods, during which Lithuanian immigrants in the US have provided financial, political, informational and cultural support to their compatriots in the homeland and Lithuanian state. They defended Lithuania’s independence and made efforts to liberate Lithuanian nation from multiple occupations.The book also discusses the activities of Lithuanian-American charity organizations and their attempts to provide financial support to Lithuania and its people.
On December 2014, the Lithuanian-American Community, Inc. appointed dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė, a senior researcher at Lituanica Department of the National Library of Lithuania, as its new representative in Lithuania.