Vytautas Magnus University and the Lithuanian Emigration Institute have issued an open invitation to people of Lithuanian heritage aged 18 and older living abroad to attend a summer course titled “Refresh in Lithuania,” which will take place in Kaunas on July 18 – 30, the University said. This will be the second annual Refresh in Lithuania event. Its main purpose is to bring together Lithuanians living abroad, help them retain their bond with their family’s homeland and introduce them to modern Lithuania, reports ELTA. The course, which is set to start in July 2011, is targeted toward student-age members of Lithuanian Diaspora who want to forge closer ties to Lithuania either by improving their language skills or by learning more about Lithuanian culture and history, as well as the social, economic, and political conditions in the country. The official Patron of the course is Irena Degutiene, Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament.
Lithuanian soldiers have been rotated back from Afghanistan and decorated for their effort in the war. On February 20, a decoration ceremony for the personnel of the 6th shift of the National Support Unit (NSU-6) was held at the Logistics Command, the Defense Ministry reports. NSE-6 included 22 troops under the command of Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics of the Lithuanian Land Force Maj Rimvydas Balinskas. They were deployed on the mission last July and finished their tour of duty on February 15. Decorations, medals and badges will be presented to the personnel of NSE-6 at the homecoming ceremony, while the Distinguished SerDeputy Medal will be bestowed on Balinskas. Several other awards and commendations will be given. The National Support Element was established to ensure a more efficient logistic provision for Lithuania’s military units deployed on multinational operations. The core of NSE is deployed in Kabul International Airport. Separate troops of the unit serve at Kandahar Airfield, and the NSE Provision Team is based with the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Chaghcharan.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has hailed voters in Latvia for rejecting the referendum to make Russian a second state language. Kublius said in a statement that Latvian voters “have demonstrated the high maturity of their civic society and self-awareness.” “The Lithuanian government and Lithuanian people express support for Latvia’s unity,” Kubilius said. The referendum was rejected on February 18 with an overwhelming 75 percent “no” vote (see story Page 3), featuring the highest voter turnout since the first parliamentary elections in 1993. Lithuania, which automatically granted the Russian-speaking population citizenship after regaining independence, enjoys a much lower level of tension between the two predominant ethnic communities in the country.