For Promotion of Lithuania through Creativity



Hip Hop Dancers, World Champions | Lithuania

For the victories, that make Lithuania famous in the rhythm of hip-hop

Paulina and Edgaras won first place in the international hip-hop championship organized by the International Dance Organization in 2022 and became the world's best hip-hop dancers in the adult group. Paulina became the first female Lithuanian to win the title of champion, and for Edgar this is already the fifth victory as the world's best hip-hop dancer.

Edgaras Kerpė, who has been dancing hip-hop since his childhood, is known both in Lithuania and abroad for his bold, creative performances and numerous international achievements, while Paulina leads and strengthens the position of female dancers in the Lithuanian hip-hop dance culture.

For Scientific Innovations to Lithuania



Scientists at Oslo University Hospital | Norway

For providing unique research opportunities to Lithuanian scientists

Asta and Petras Juzėnas have contributed to the scientific achievements of the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital for more than 20 years. They have published over a hundred scientific articles in high-rating international scientific journals. Despite their careers abroad, they continue collaborating with Lithuanian researchers, exchange experiences, and carry out joint projects.

Asta and Petras create unique internship opportunities for students and researchers by initiating and implementing bilateral projects between Lithuanian research institutions and Norwegian Cancer Research Institute or Oslo University Hospital. This allows Lithuanian scientists to perform research using state-of-the-art scientific equipment. Asta and Petras are long-standing members of Lithuanian Doctoral Committees of Biophysics, which aid in connecting early-career scientists in Lithuania with diaspora talents in Norway.

For Investments to Lithuania



Executive Director of "Continental Automotive Lithuania" | USA, Lithuania

For remarkable investments in the Lithuanian manufacturing sector

Shayan Ali came to Lithuania from USA and became one of the most active members of the foreign investor community and a true ambassador of Lithuania. His initiative and hard work resulted in the largest investment in the manufacturing sector in 20 years being made in Lithuania. In 2019, “Continental Automotive Lithuania” was opened in Kaunas, and Shayan became the general director of the company.

Shayan is leading a few company development projects, the investments of which amount to about 185 million euros. By 2025, the company plans to create around 1500 jobs and currently already employs over 700 people. The range of the company’s functions is being expanded by creating a new service centre “Continental Tires Business Services”. Around 100 employees will be hired to work at this centre in the next few years, performing the data analysis, process management and administrative functions. Thanks to Shayan’s efforts, Kaunas is becoming one of the world’s leaders in car electronics.

For Global Recognition of Lithuanian Professionals



Honorary Consul of Lithuania, businesswoman and artist | USA

For promotion of Lithuanian business achievements and development of business connections

Kristina Butvydas Bard is the Honorary Consul General of Lithuania, an entrepreneur and an advisor to Lithuanian entrepreneurs, who is known to all Lithuanians who are expanding their businesses in USA. Kristina coordinates international, regional and local private and public sector projects, conducts negotiations on cross-border partnerships. She dedicates great effort to promote Lithuania’s name as well as promote the value of the Lithuanian economy.

This year, thanks to Kristina's leadership, the North American-Lithuanian Business Forum has become a successful accelerator of business relations. The event held in Philadelphia, attracted over 200 representatives of business, political institutions and diaspora professionals. It became a platform for creating and searching for partnerships and facilitating the expansion of Lithuanian businesses to the USA. Kristina was the leader of the forum team consisting of diplomats, representatives of institutions, business associations and professionals.

For educating the talent of Global Lithuanian Youth



USA, Lithuania

For educating the talent of Global Lithuanian Youth

Dr. Juozas Petras Kazickas (1918-2014), a citizen of Lithuania and USA, Doctor of Economics at Yale university, prominent business man and philanthropist, has established the Kazickas family foundation in 1998. The foundation, active in New York and Vilnius, and managed by all the Kazickas family members is actively supporting various educational, social, healthcare and cultural programmes and initiatives both in Lithuania and abroad.

Educational programmes for children and youth is the main priority area of the foundation. The vision of Dr. J.P. Kazickas was to contribute to the education of youth in Lithuania by increasing their technological literacy, financing participation in international exchange programs and academic activities in the world's best universities. The foundation has been generously supporting dozens of educational organizations in Lithuania, US and abroad for a quarter of a century.

Being part of Lithuanian diaspora themselves, the Kazickas family has been fostering the education of the younger generation of Lithuanians growing up abroad. This was particularly sought by mrs. Aleksandra Kazickienė, in whose memory the program of supporting Lithuanian language schools in the USA was established in 2012.

For an exceptional global event in Lithuanian culture and society




For an exceptional global event in Lithuanian culture and society

Kaunas - European Culture Capital 2022 - the cultural phenomenon that contributed to popularizing and putting Lithuania on the world cultural map the most last year with 1.26 billion people learning about the cultural event. The organization included world-renowned diaspora artists such as Litvaks William Kentridge and Janny Kagan in the main program, assembled an international creative team, the ranks of which were joined by people from the diaspora. In one year, 4025 events, and 1077 community initiatives were implemented, which were seen by almost 400 thousand spectators. Kaunas, which has become one big European stage, has forever written itself into the cultural history of Lithuania, Europe and the world.

The creative team behind Kaunas - European Culture Capital 2022 has created a synergy between art, science, business and education, invited to get to know the city through authentic experiences, established cultural collaborations between local, international and diaspora artists. The events involved city residents and city guests in the processes of cultural and artistic creation, with the aim of getting to know the history and uniqueness of Kaunas, feeling love for the city and opening up.

For Lifetime Achievements


Vida Julia Bandis

Representative of Lithuanian World Community in Lithuania | USA, Lithuania

For Lifetime Achievements

Vida Julia Bandis is a Lithuanian from the USA, an active public activist, and representative of the World Lithuanian Community in Lithuania, distinguished as the community representative who has worked in Lithuania for the longest time, unconditionally devoting her life’s work Lithuania and the people of the community, selflessly and consistently fulfilling her civic duty.

Vida emigrated to the United States during World War II. She studied accounting and economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, earned a master's degree in public administration at Bailey State University, and became a doctor of science at the University of Maryland. Between 1960 and 1999, she lived and worked in Germany and the USA. Focusing all her attention on administrative activities, Vida has accumulated vast experience in managing and leading international projects.

Since 1999, Vida Julia Bandis lives and works in Lithuania. In 1999-2003, she worked at the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania as the director of the Department of Financial Policy, supervising the education projects in the newly restored state, and improving the secondary education system. In 2006-2007 Vida headed the Baltic Management Institute - a consortium of five European higher education institutions operating in France, Denmark, Belgium, Norway and Lithuania. To this day, she is a member of the board of this institute. Since 2009 Vida Julia Bandis serves as the representative of the World Lithuanian Community in Lithuania, doing the work pro bono. Vida is also a board member of Alma Adamkiene's charity foundation "International Rotary Club of Vilnius". She has established scholarships for academically well performing, underprivileged high school graduates of her hometown, Molėtai.

In 2018, Vida Julia Bandis was awarded the Officer's Cross Award of the Order "For Merit to Lithuania", 2019 ‒ Medal of Honor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania "For the merits of Global Lithuanians to Lithuania".

For Diaspora Engagement to Support Ukraine



For Diaspora Engagement to Support Ukraine

Andrius Zubernis

Co-founder of the charity fund “ZEGA support organization" | United Kingdom


For comprehensive assistance to soldiers and civilians in Ukraine and war refugees in Northern Ireland

Andrius Zubernis - the winner of confectionery and patisserie championships, whose hand-crafted plan to help Ukrainians was presented to the mayor of a town in Northern Ireland already in the first days of the war in Ukraine. From the beginning of the war until today, Andrius is immersed in helping people affected by the war. Abandoning his initial plan to establish his own pastry bakery and school, he established a collection, sorting and logistics center for aid to Ukrainians in its premises, later establishing a support and charity organization “ZEGA support organization".

“ZEGA Support Organization” founded by Andrius and his colleague, works around the clock to provide vital services to Ukrainians affected by the war, especially to those who voluntarily remain in Ukraine or cannot leave the country for other reasons. Volunteers of the organization help Ukrainians who have fled the warfind housing, advise on job search issues, take care of integration into social life, organize leisure activities for young people, such as football training or music lessons.

Austėja Sruoga

Chairman of the Presidium of the XXIII Council of the Lithuanian Community in the USA | USA


For the rapidly mobilized US Lithuanian and Ukrainian forces in the name of helping Ukraine

Austėja Sruoga, the chairwoman of Lithuanians in Chicago, has been actively coordinating the activities of different organizations since the beginning of the war, mobilizing the most necessary aid for Ukraine. In the first week of the war, Austėja, together with Ukrainian Irina Lelik, whose family lives in Lviv, came up with the fastest way to transport aid from the United States - by buying luggage space on passenger flights. In a few days, they involved many people of different ethnic communities, who sent 167 suitcases with high necessity medical supplies by passenger planes, which reached Lviv and were distributed to different hospitals in the city.

Austėja also administers the support fund “Support the People of Ukraine", which was established in the second week of war by the Lithuanian community in the United States together with the Association of Ukrainians in the United States. In order to collect support for Ukraine, together with the Rimantas Kaukėnas Foundation, she organized a concert of Lithuanian artists, coordinated aid of the Lithuanian Rotary Club of Chicago and started many other fundraising initiatives.

Eleonora Jonušienė-Romuva

Co-founder of the Lithuanian American Business Association in Los Angeles (LABA.LA) | USA


For civic, humanitarian, and artistic initiatives in support of Ukraine

From the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Eleonora Jonušienė-Romuva, creator of social projects and leader of numerous organizations, together with the team of the Consulate General in Los Angeles, Honorary Consul Daiva Čekanauskas Navarrette, members of the Lithuanian American Business Association in Los Angeles (hereinafter - LABA.LA) and the Lithuanian community in USA, initiated a letter writing campaign to the United States Senate, Congress, the senator of Santa Barbara and in them demanded the introduction of the strictest sanctions against Russia.

Eleonora, together with “Team Lithuania” and Los Angeles Ukrainian organizations “Stand with Ukraine Foundation”, “Ukrainian Culture Center” and “Post LA” organized and coordinated the collection, sorting and logistics of humanitarian aid, and with associates of LABA.LA organized the screening of the films “Mr. Landsbergis" and “Mariupolis” by Mantas Kvedaravičius in honor of the defenders of freedom. The money collected from the event tickets sold was allocated to the organization “Stand with Ukraine LA", which bought a military vehicle, filled it with medical and military ammunition and sent it to the front in Ukraine. In August, Eleonora took part in the Ukrainian support campaign “Trident of Freedom" of the team “Amber Dust" of the alternative art festival “Burning Man". The team, together with Donata Aukštuolis, designer and architect living in Chicago, created a wooden installation of the symbol of Ukrainian freedom to remind the public that support is needed as the war in Ukraine continues.

Irma Petraitytė-Lukšienė

Member of the Board of the World Lithuanian Community, member of the Council of the German Lithuanian Community | Germany


For unfading civic activism in arousing the German public to support Ukraine

Irma Petraitytė-Lukšienė - public activist of the Lithuanian diaspora, since 2020 actively supporting the independence of Ukraine, the fight for freedom and the goals of European integration. Thanks to Irma's initiative, the Council of the German Lithuanian Community cooperates with the German Ukrainian and Kartvelian communities and writes open letters to the German Bundestag regarding the threats posed by Russia to European security, calling for increased humanitarian, financial and military support to Ukraine.

Due to her initiative, an open appeal was sent to NATO, the Big Seven, the United Nations, the institutions of the European Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross, demanding to protect the civilian population of Ukraine, to stop the war and genocide carried out by Russia in Ukraine, and to stop the deportation of Ukrainians to Russia. Irma has been speaking at demonstrations in Munich every weekend since the start of thewar in Ukraine, urging the German public not to get used to war, and non-stop supporting Ukraine with humanitarian and military aid until its victory. At the end of November, Irma organized an important public debate in German about the war waged by Russia in Ukraine and the necessity of Ukraine's accession to the EU.

Vilma Green

Member of the Board of Advisors of the City of London Lithuanian Club | United Kingdom


For consistent and mobilizing support for Ukrainian doctors and children

Vilma Green, while working in high positions in the financial sector, actively participates in Lithuanian professional organizations, the London City Lithuanian Club (hereinafter - LCLC) and other public activities. Since the beginning of war in Ukraine, together with the Ukrainian community in the United Kingdom, she has been coordinating humanitarian aid collection campaigns - gathering volunteer teams, sorting, and organizing the logistics of the collected support.

In cooperation with Ukrainian support organizations in Lithuania, Vilma initiated a fundraising campaign on behalf of LCLC to donate special equipment to a children's hospital in the city of Khmelnytskyi. The campaign raised (and continues to raise) a solid amount of money, which was used to buy, equip and fill an ambulance with essential medicine and medical supplies. They have also donatedspecial equipment for premature infants, as per hospital’s request. Currently, while Ukraine is experiencing more and more difficulties with electricity supply, Vilma and LCLC are organizing a fundraiser for electricity generators for the same children's hospital in Khmelnytskyi.

Rima Žiūraitis & Aušra Tallat Kelpša

Leaders of "Blue Yellow for Ukraine USA" | USA


For focused efforts leading "Blue Yellow for Ukraine USA"

Rima Žiūraitis, managing director at "Blue Yellow for Ukraine USA", and Aušra Tallat Kelpša, Board President at "Blue Yellow for Ukraine USA" form the leading team of the American unit of the most active NGO in Lithuania "Blue Yellow for Ukraine" established in 2019.

Since the day of massive russian invasion to Ukraine, they gathered and activated the team of active Ukrainian and Lithuanian diaspora and have consistently worked in three main directions:First and foremost, they established a routine of fundraising events among Lithuanian American communities and initiated a crowdfunding platform to raise money for the needs of "Blue Yellow for Ukraine". In the first four weeks, they raised over 1 million USD. The last such fundraising event took place in cooperation with New York Lithuanian Professionals and resulted in 20 thousand USD more. Second, the raised funds are used to procure and ship in the most effective way the necessities for the Ukrainian front - from drones to winter gear. Third, the team leads the advocacy activities on the top level of the US Government to empower non profit organizations in their efforts to support Ukraine. On December 7, Jonas Ohman ir pati Rima Žiūraitis testified at the hearing in Washington DC which examined logistical and regulatory challenges that often stymie efforts to surge needed gear to the front and identified policy options for Governments to harmonize export frameworks.