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Cultural ambassador dies in Paris

  • 2002-03-07
  • BNS
VILNIUS - Ugne Karvelis, Lithuania's ambassador to UNESCO, passed away in her home in Paris in the early hours of March 4. Karvelis, 66, was seriously ill, but she was an active diplomat until her last days.

Sources in Paris close to Karvelis said that her last wish was to have her ashes spilled over the Atlantic Ocean. She was the widow of Argentine writer Julio Cortazar.

"We have lost Ugne Karvelis, a bright and unmatched ambassador of Lithuanian culture, translator and writer who contributed significantly to the presentation of Lithuanian culture to the world after the restoration of independence," Adamkus said in a message of condolence published by his press service.

During Karvelis' term in office as a representative at UNESCO, the picturesque Curonian Lagoon, the Vilnius' historical Old Town, and the metal craft of cross-making were included into the organization's list of world cultural heritage.

Karvelis was the founder and vice chairman of the French-Lithuanian Association and a member of many organizations including the Lithuanian Writers Union, the France Translators Association and the Mexican Friends Association.

She was born in Noreikiskes, near Kaunas, in 1935 and studied in Berlin, Kaunas, Tubingen (Germany), Paris and New York after 1940.

She studied international law at the Paris Political Sciences Institute. From 1955 on, she worked with publishers in France, Latin America, Spain, Portugal and several Eastern European countries.

Karvelis, a literature critic, radio host and writer, was also a translator of Lithuanian, English, Spanish and German.

She was a member of Lithuania's first delegation at the UNESCO general conference in 1991 when the Baltic state was accepted into the organization. She became the ambassador to the organization in 1995.