For Promotion of Lithuania through Creativity
For Promotion of Lithuania through Creativity
LITHUANIAN COMMUNITY IN AUSTRIA
Project „LT.Art Vienna” | Austria
For promoting contemporary Lithuanian art in Austria
The Lithuanian community in Austria opens up opportunities for young Lithuanian artists to present their work in Austria, make connections with artists living and creating in Austria, and cooperate with galleries and theaters.
The interdisciplinary arts festival „LT.Art Vienna”, created by the leaders of the Austrian Lithuanian community Justina Špeirokaitė, Julija Karimžanova, Danielė Brekytė, Viltautė Žemelytė and Urtė Špeirokaitė, invites residents and guests of the city of Vienna to immerse themselves in contemporary Lithuanian culture and to get acquainted with talented Lithuanian artists. The program of the annual festival includes exhibitions of Lithuanian creators, film screenings, music concerts, creative workshops, and performances.
Photographer | Lithuania
For photomicrographs of insects that traveled around the world in a day
Eugenijus Kavaliauskas - a creator of microphotographs, whose photos travel around the world and made waves in the world's most famous media channels.
Eugenijus managed to capture an impressive portrait of an ant that captivated the whole world, the publication which CNN called: „A face that only a mother can love: in a frightening photo you can see what an ant looks like up close". This photo was also featured in the „New York Post", and named one of the best photos in the Nikon Photomicrography competition „Small World"Recently, an article about Eugenijus’ career was published in “The Washington Post”.
GIEDRĖ BARAUSKAITĖ - GiedRé
Singer, creator and writer | France
For a comic book reflecting the history of Lithuania, which became the most read piece in France
Giedrė Barauskaitė - GiedRé - a personality that contains the talents of an actress, writer, comedian, and singer. Thousands of people fill concert halls and most famous music festivals just to hear Giedrė’s songs, which are full of dark humor and irony.
Giedrė's French-language comic book „A Can of Peas" became extremely popular, won many awards, and was wiped out from the shelves of French bookstores.. The comic book sensitively and wittily tells author’s childhood memories, provides knowledge about the history of Lithuania and pays an homage to freedom and independence.
PAULINA ŽILINSKAITĖ & EDGARAS KERPĖ
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.
Rapper, actress, human rights activist | Sweden
For the world-famous rap lines for tolerance
Silvana Imam - a creator born in Lithuania and proud of her roots in the Lithuanian region of Zemaitija. The artist is known for music, which causes a revolution, her concerts pulsate with energy, and her life experiences are described in an autobiographical book and recorded in the biographical film „Silvana". Through her work, Silvana sends important human rights messages to the world and her homeland, with topics ranging from the integration of migrants to gender equality, she is also considered an icon of modern feminism.
Silvana, who has released three music albums, has received the prestigious award for the best female artist in Sweden. As an actress she played the lead role in a Swedish film, which was awarded with the Gerardo Pedicini Award at the 2022 Venice Film Festival.
Jazz vocalist, composer, musician | USA
For the sound of Lithuanian string instrument „kanklės” in jazz and in world famous music halls
Simona Smirnova is a global ambassador of Lithuanian string instrument „kanklės”, a jazz vocalist and composer, who graduated in contemporary music studies at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. In 2022, Simona released her third original music album „Paukščių kalba", which was nominated by the „Grammy” committee in three categories: best jazz vocal album, best music videoand best new artist. Simona is also a member of the Recording Academy.
Simona described her musical experience in the book „Kanklės in New York". It is the first educational publication, supplemented with musical recordings, information about the instrument and its origin, intended for a foreign audience. Simona popularizes the sound of „kanklės” on concert tours in North America, New Zealand and Lithuania.
For Scientific Innovations to Lithuania
For Scientific Innovations to Lithuania
Dr. Inga Popovaitė
Sociologist, PhD in Social Sciences | USA & Lithuania
For popularization of extraterrestrial science in Lithuania
Dr. Inga Popovaitė is a researcher in sociology, who studies human behavior and leadership in extreme situations. Inga obtained her PhD at the University of Iowa (USA). For her dissertation, she conducted research at the Mars Desert Research Station, where she studied gender-based behavioral differences in leadership.
Since returning to Lithuania, Inga has been working on new sociological research. She strives to attract the attention of the scientific communities and the state to the interdisciplinary studies and sociology of outer space. Inga is an active science communicator. She participates in public debates, presents at various conferences, gives interviews to the media – all to acquaint Lithuanian population with the field of space science. By continuing her research on human behavior in space-related environments at the Kaunas University of Technology, Inga uses the opportunity to share her unique experience gained in USA with students and scientists of Lithuania.
Dr. Petras Juzėnas & Dr. Asta Juzėnienė
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.
Prof. dr. Vita Akstinaitė
Professor in Leadership, PhD in Business and Management | Lithuania
For developing new leadership research opportunities in Lithuania
Dr. Vita Akstinaitė is a professor and researcher at several universities and business schools in Lithuania and around the world. After living abroad for 10 years, having visited almost 50 countries for work and research, Vita returned to Lithuania and obtained the full professorship in ISM University of Management and Economics, making her one of the youngest professors in the country.
She is a founder and manager of Global Leadership and Strategy,the very first graduate level study program in leadership across the Baltic States. In addition, she is a co-founder of international research initiatives that expand understanding of leadership and promote interdisciplinary collaboration (i.e., The Hubris Hub and Infinitus Labs). Over the past few years, Vita has raised funding for artificial intelligence based research projects, has won several awards for her world-class research results and non-traditional teaching methods, both in Lithuania and abroad.
Investor, founder of the science outreach contest Researchers Grand Prix in Lithuania | Norway
For the introduction of good foreign practices in science popularization to Lithuania
Žaneta Freyer is a global professional, entrepreneur and investor, who actively cooperates with the academic community and contributes to the popularization of science. Žaneta is convinced that the most important thing for the future of Lithuania is to combine the deep traditions of Lithuanian science, the creativity of educated people and the ability to present research results to the general public in an attractive way.
Inspired by the science popularization contest that has been held in Norway for many years, Žaneta brought the idea to Lithuania. Together with the Lithuanian Society of Young Researchers, she organized and financed the first Researchers Grand Prix contest in Lithuania, where PhD students from different fields interactively presented their research to an audience of 160 spectators. Those presentations were evaluated by the committee, and the best of them reached the general public around Lithuania through the popular media channels.
For Diaspora Engagement to Support Ukraine
For Diaspora Engagement to Support Ukraine
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For Investments to Lithuania
For Investments to Lithuania
Akvilė Meškauskaitė-Dobrajs, Sandra Pangonytė & Danutė Rasimavičiūtė
Co-founders of social business “The Knotty Ones” | Lithuania, USA
For global visibility and development of a sustainable social business model
Akvile, Sandra and Danute are the creators and leaders of a novelty social fashion business model in Lithuania. “The Knotty Ones” has been featured in such world-class publications as “Vogue”, “Elle”, „The Guardian”, and “The Telegraph”. The startup attracted half a million euros of investments, making it the largest amount of initial capital ever invested in a fashion brand in Lithuania.
In creating their business, the friends pay a lot of attention to fashion sustainability and solving regional employment problems. The knitwear they sell is produced by over 70 knitters and small knitting businesses in remote areas of Lithuania, allowing them to earn additional income or make a living of it. 95% of “The Knotty Ones” production is sold abroad. Another factor that makes this business unique, is that the customers have an opportunity to contribute to making a knitter’s dream come true by allocating an additional amount.
Founder and CEO game development studio "Charlie Oscar" | Lithuania
For growing the lithuanian game development ecosystem
Sergei Klimov is the founder of the game development studio “Charlie Oscar” and a true ambassador of Vilnius. He actively unites the community of game developers and strengthens the ecosystem of this industry in Lithuania with various initiatives and events. In 2015, the online strategy game „Gremlins.Inc” created by “Charlie Oscar”, became one of the most popular games worldwide. A second version of this game is currently being prepared for release.
Sergei and his colleagues at Charlie Oscar have been organizing the international “Games Industry Law Summit” conference for 8 years. This event is one of the most famous video game industry events in the world. The conference, organized in Lithuania, attracts creative and publishing studios of the game industry, developers of platforms and associations, and licensing experts and investors from over 40 countries. This conference and other events organized by Sergei are platforms where many successful investment deals take place, contributing to the development of the Lithuanian game industry.
Executive Director of "Continental Automotive Lithuania" | USA, Lithuania
For remarkable investments in the Lithuanian manufacturing sector
Shayan Ali came to Lithuania fromUSA 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.
Tomas Okmanas & Eimantas Sabaliauskas
Co-founders of Nord Security and Tesonet | Lithuania
For raising unicorns & strengthening the startup community in Lithuania
Tomas Okmanas and Eimantas Sabaliauskas are the leaders of the second Lithuanian unicorn “Nord Security” that attracted an investment of a 100 million US dollars and entered Lithuania’s name in the list of the cyber security product leaders in the world. The entrepreneurs are honest - NordVPN, company’s most successful product, was born after 34 failed projects. But now the company is rapidly expanding both in Lithuania and abroad, attracting the best talents from around the world.
The business duo is putting a lot of effort into making Lithuania into a global technology leader and are contributing to strengthening the Lithuanian startup ecosystem.
“Nord Security” is the first unicorn from the “Tesonet” accelerator founded by Tomas and Eimantas, but probably not the last. The entrepreneurs believe that soon more startups will join the ranks of the Lithuanian unicorns.
For Global Recognition of Lithuanian Professionals
For Global Recognition of Lithuanian Professionals
Former Assistant Secretary General at NATO | Belgium, Lithuania
For global leadership and attention towards Lithuania in the field of security
Giedrimas Jeglinskas is a former reserve officer in the Lithuanian Armed Forces and deputy defense vice minister, who resigned in the fall of 2022 as NATO's deputy secretary general, the highest position of his career. He was the first Lithuanian to hold such a high position in NATO. Giedrimas led a team of 400 members responsible for all NATO functions, including human resources, infrastructure, information technology and finance.
The global experience in the private and public sector helped Giedrimas implement the necessary changes in NATO and strengthen the Alliance - the main guarantor of Lithuania's security. Throughout his professional years, Giedrimas contributed to the planning of security initiatives important for Lithuania, such as the accelerator of north Atlantic defense innovations, as well as the planning of the NATO Summit in Lithuania for 2023.
Kristina Butvydas Bard
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.
Deputy Secretary General at the International Telecommunication Union | UK, Lithuania, Switzerland
For achieving historical professional heights in international organizations
Tomas Lamanauskas has more than 20 years of international work experience in the fields of infrastructure, telecommunication and digital technologies, as well as various business and government organizations. He is a leader in his field and an experienced speaker, as evidenced by more than 200 speeches at international conferences, more than 20 articles, three co-authored books and expertise in the most important international organizations.
On the 29th of September 2022 Tomas was elected as Deputy Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union - the highest elected position of the United Nations organization to which a Lithuanian has ever been elected. Both the achievement and Tomas' nearly two-year-long global election campaign set a precedent for how united diaspora professionals, government representatives, diplomats and businessmen can be in their work towards a common goal.
Producer at “Al Jazeera Digital”, creator of documentary multimedia projects | USA
For award-winning globally significant multimedia projects
With nearly 10 years of national and international journalism experience Viktorija Mickute works as a senior producer at "AJ Contrast" media innovation studio. In Lithuania, Viktorija actively shares the international experience and knowledge gained in the USA about the progress of digital journalism, the use of technology in media and the creation of engaging documentaries about military conflicts, natural disasters and other relevant global topics.
The documentary about the lives of three women with disabilities in New York, Lagos and Mumbai, named "Inaccessible Cities", produced by Viktorija, was nominated for the prestigious Emmy Award in 2022. It is important to mention that this is the third time that the work of Viktorija and her team has received an Emmy nomination, not to mention the numerous international awards received for her unique multimedia projects and documentary films.