Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania
Born in Vilnius on March 1 1956, Dalia Grybauskaite attended the Secondary School of Salomeja Neris. At the age of 19 (in 1975-1976), she worked as an inspector at the personnel division of the National Philharmonic Society.
In 1976, she entered the Zhdanov University in the then Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and graduated with a degree in political economic sciences in 1983. During her years in university, Grybauskaite worked at a fur factory Rot-Front.
Upon return to Lithuania in 1983, she worked as a secretary at the Academy of Sciences. She was a lecturer at the Department of Political Economy at the Vilnius Higher Party school in 1983-1990. In 1988, she received a doctoral degree of economic sciences at the Moscow Academy of Social Studies.
She completed a special course for leaders at the Georgetown University in Washington in 1991 and worked as a scientific secretary at the Institute of Economy in 1990-1991 before taking a position of director of programs at the government in 1991.
In 1991-1994, she headed departments at ministries of International Economic Relations and Foreign Affairs before working as deputy senior negotiator for the Treaty of Europe with the EU and envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at the Lithuanian mission at the EU in 1994-1995.
In 1996-1999, Grybauskaite worked as minister plenipotentiary at the Lithuanian Embassy to the United States, followed by positions of vice-minister of finance and foreign affairs in the Cabinet of Andrius Kubilius in 1999-2001. She headed the Finance Ministry in the government of Algirdas Brazauskas in the 2001-2004 period.
On May 1 2004, Grybauskaite was appointed EU commissioner in charge of financial programming and budget. She was elected Commissioner of the Year in November 2005 “for her unrelenting efforts to shift EU spending towards areas that would enhance competitiveness such as research and development.
She was awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas in 2003.
On Feb. 26 2009, the European commissioner said she was ready to run for Lithuania’s president on May 17, which she won after receiving 68.17 percent of the vote.
Grybauskaite speaks English, Russian, Polish and French.
Valdas Adamkus, Former President of Lithuania
Valdas Adamkus was born into a family of civil servants in Kaunas on 3 November 1926. He studied at the Jonas Jablonskis Elementary School and the Aušra (Dawn) Gymnasium in Kaunas.
During World War II, he was involved in the resistance movement for Lithuania ‘s independence. Valdas Adamkus fled to Germany with his parents in July 1944.
After graduation from the Lithuanian Gymnasium in Germany , Valdas Adamkus studied at the Faculty of Natural Science at Munich University. In 1949, Valdas Adamkus came to the United States , where he was employed as a worker in a Chicago factory of car parts, later, as a draughtsman in an engineering firm. In 1960, he graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, with a degree in civil engineering.
In 1951, Valdas Adamkus married Alma Nutautaitė.
In early 70’s Valdas Adamkus was invited to work for a newly established US federal environmental institution, the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA). He headed the Environment Research Centre and was later appointed deputy administrator at the US EPA Region 5 (Midwest Region). In 1981, he was promoted to administrator of the Environment Protection Agency.
Face to Lithuania
Valdas Adamkus was active in public and political life of the Lithuanian expatriate community. Between 1958 and 1965, he was vice-chairman of the Santara-Šviesa (Accord-Light) Cultural-Political Federation, a liberal civic organization of the Lithuanian expatriate community, acting under the slogan “Face to Lithuania “, and, in 1967, he was elected its chairman.
While living in the United States , Valdas Adamkus was an active organizer of protests against Lithuania ‘s occupation and the initiator of numerous petitions. Between 1961 and 1964, Adamkus was a member of the Board of the American-Lithuanian Community (LC), vice-chairman of the Centre Board, member of the American-Lithuanian Council (ALC).
Valdas Adamkus was an active participant and organiser of sports events. He won two gold and two silver medals in track-and-field events at the Olympic Games of the Enslaved Nations of 1948. In 1951, Valdas Adamkus established an academic sports club of Lithuanian Americans, Lituanica. He was chairman of the Organizing Committee of the World Lithuanian Games that were held in 1983.
Since 1972, Valdas Adamkus had been visiting Lithuania once or several times a year. Encouraging and supporting construction of water treatment facilities and development of environmental monitoring, Valdas Adamkus assisted environmental institutions of the Baltic States with academic literature, equipment and software supply.
In the capacity of the coordinator of US aid to the Baltic States in the field of environmental protection, Valdas Adamkus organized study visits for representatives of Lithuania ‘s academic institutions and helped Vilnius University to get hold of the latest academic literature.
In 1993, Valdas Adamkus headed the election campaign of presidential candidate Stasys Lozoraitis in Lithuania .
Consolidating the moderate political centre, he was actively involved in the campaign of the 1996 Lithuanian general parliamentary elections.
President of the Republic
In 1998, Valdas Adamkus was elected President of the Republic of Lithuania. He assumed the office on February 26, 1998. President Adamkus promoted the idea of rapid modernisation of Lithuania and worked consistently towards its implementation.
In 2002, Valdas Adamkus ran in the presidential elections for another term, in the second round, however, he lost to Rolandas Paksas. Upon completion of his term in the office, Valdas Adamkus remained active in domestic and foreign politics and gave lectures at international conferences.
In 2004, following the removal of Rolandas Paksas from the Office of the President by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus again ran in the presidential elections.
On June 27, 2004, citizens of Lithuania re-elected Valdas Adamkus President of the Republic for another five-year term. During his second term, President of the Republic is committed to create European wellbeing in every Lithuanian home and to guarantee that there is not a single abandoned person in Lithuania .
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Construction of Knowledge Societies
In 2003, President Valdas Adamkus was conferred the title of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Construction of Knowledge Societies. This title is held only by 36 individuals in the whole world, therefore, this honour shown to President Valdas Adamkus can certainly be viewed as the award to all the people of Lithuania .
In the area of knowledge society, UNESCO is involved in internet promotion, establishment of community internet centres, library and archive modernisation, development of E-government, implementation of information technologies in educational, women’s and children’s teaching institutions and decision-making structures.
With its own Goodwill Ambassador, Lithuania has now become even more visible among UNESCO member states.