On 11 December, after taking the oath of office at the Seimas (Parliament), the incoming new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis, says that Lithuania’s foreign policy must continue to be based on the principle of national consensus, while maintaining our strategic geopolitical attitudes. However, we also need new instruments, increased activity and a strengthened diplomatic service in order to be able to respond to the new challenges faced by the world today and to better defend Lithuania’s national interest.
President Gitanas Nausėda participated remotely in the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the OEDC convention. The leaders of OECD member countries discussed organization’s achievements, state of affairs in the world economy, long-term trends, and the specific contribution of the OECD to shape “better policies for better lives”.
Five Belarusian reporters have been awarded the Hope of Freedom Prize from Lithuania for their tough work during the anti-government protests in the neighbouring country, the Lithuanian Union of Journalists said
Ekaterina Borisevich and Elena Tolkachova, who work for the independent news website Tut.by, Tatiana Korenkova of BelaPAN, and Ekaterina Andreeva and Darya Chulcova from the Warsaw-based TV channel Belsat will receive 1,000-euro prizes established by the Lithuanian Union of Journalists and the Lithuanian Journalists’ Society.
On 17 December, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis had a telephone conversation with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde, and the Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, and discussed the COVID-19 situation in the region, important issues of bilateral cooperation, as well as support to democratic forces in Belarus.
On December 10, the top 15 teams presented their innovative ideas during the virtual Alter State Nordic-Baltic Women Innovation Sprint final event. After the tense and competitive pitch session, 3 teams were selected by the international jury board. The first-place winner was the "Know Your Food" team, which develops a solution to inform customers about the sustainability indicators of the food products.
Startup Wise Guys together with EIT Digital have launched their 3rd annual Baltic Startup Scene report, the largest to-date. For the first time ever, Baltic startups saw a reduction in total funding in 2019. Despite this, survey insights along with funding data for 2020 reveal that investor and startup optimism is rebounding, with 2020 H1 significantly outperforming 2019 H1 in terms of funding, even with the onset of a pandemic-induced economic downturn.
Lithuania is widely known as a global fintech hub, however, its growing AI potential is hard to ignore with multiple AI startups emerging in recent years and a wide range of companies actively executing AI solutions. A country of roughly 2.5 million people currently hosts over 40 mature AI companies and 100 startups developing AI solutions. To further maximise Lithuania’s artificial intelligence potential, business and academia partnered at establishing a country’s own AI Laboratory.
For episode 11 of the EU-Startups Podcast we interviewed Milda Mitkute, the Co-founder of the Lithuanian unicorn Vinted – Europe’s leading online marketplace for second-hand fashion. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Vilnius, Vinted today counts over 34 million members across 13 markets. Vinted’s mission is to make second-hand the first choice globally. A team of over 500 people across Vinted’s offices in Vilnius, Berlin, and Prague develop and support the platforms continued growth.
When the global pandemic caused massive shutdowns, artists and museums were forced to find new ways to display their pieces and invite people to experience art in a safe way. MO Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania, decided to bring the art outside to soothe and inspire citizens.
Listening to the recording is a novel tour around buildings of different architectural styles and uses.
ECHOtektūra, or echotecture, is a long-term project by Kaunas-based scholars, artists and architects. Today, the project is available in the shape of a music album but contains much more. Its name originated from a conjugation of two concepts: echolocation and architecture; the project is dedicated to representing architectural spaces and aesthetics to the visually handicapped.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania allocated EUR 100,000 in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The funds will be transferred to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
On 27 October, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a report stating that humanitarian aid was needed for 3.4 million people living in Ukraine. Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 3,000 people have been killed and 7,000 injured.
President Gitanas Nausėda initiates a series of events to tell more about the history of the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact since its signing in 1939 until they were made public and condemned in December 1989 and encourage a debate on the importance of historical memory in strengthening Lithuania’s statehood.
“With attempts to manipulate and falsify history in neighboring countries, it is our duty to remember the events of the past as they were”, the President said.
The Ministry of Energy and 19 organisations, including the Ministry of Economy and Innovation, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, business associations and large energy companies, have signed an agreement on the establishment of a hydrogen platform in Lithuania. The signatories have agreed to cooperate in the creation and development of hydrogen technologies, which will be crucial for achieving national and European energy and climate targets.
On 9 December, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius took part in a virtual ministerial roundtable on the safety of journalists. The event took place in the course of the 2 days of the World Press Freedom Conference 'Journalism without Fear or Favour', organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and UNESCO.
A Lithuanian-native Prof V. Šikšnys is one of the most important pioneers in CRISPR-Cas9 technology, which enables geneticists and medical researchers to alter, remove, and add sections of the DNA sequence, in turn editing parts of the genome.
The discoveries in this field were awarded the Nobel Prize this year, and the professor contributed greatly to this global achievement by being the first to show that the CRISPR-Cas9 system could be transferred from one bacterium to another.
Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, is expanding its presence in Lithuania by increasing its manufacturing capabilities of products for the life sciences market. The investment will enable increased production for a growing industry and create an additional 140 new jobs at the company’s site in Vilnius.
Consumer trends and the closed nature of the Baltic Sea are making the problem of plastic pollution in water more and more acute. Drones and satellite information will be used to more effectively identify areas of concern on the Lithuanian and Latvian coasts. After analyzing it, scientists will present their proposals for innovative pollution management measures.
Vilnius celebrates this year's Nobel Prize ceremony by honouring one of the most prominent Lithuanian pioneers in life sciences – Prof. Virginijus Šikšnys – whose contributions led to important discoveries in the Nobel Prize-worthy CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
Vilnius is funding a scholarship in the name of the scientist, and has commissioned a sculpture for the achievements made in the life sciences field. A DNA spiral by artist Eglė Žvirblytė will be standing in front of LSC as a tribute to Prof. Virginijus Šikšnys’ discovery and human evolution.
In light of the extension of the second lockdown in Lithuania, Adas Vasiliauskas, the photographer and author of “Quarantine Portraits”, welcomes the artists and the residents of Vilnius city to let their imagination shine through the quarantine restrictions and make festivities especially safe by decorating an unexpected area of their home – their balconies.
The pandemic not only “quarantined” artists’ tours abroad, participation in international festivals and biennials but also indefinitely postponed the very preconditions for such activities to continue in the “post-Covid-19” world – it suspended the Visits programme that the Lithuanian Culture Institute has been successfully running for several years through which international cultural experts from various countries of the world travelled to Lithuania to get acquainted with its professional art scene and consequently invite artists for partnership and joint projects.
We all love looking for Lithuanian details in big Hollywood productions – and there are several to be found in Netflix's recent hit show The Queen's Gambit.
In the very last scene of episode seven, the protagonist, chess prodigy Beth Harmon, is walking in Moscow and comes across a group of ordinary people playing chess in a park. One of them recognises Beth and challenges her to a match before the end credits roll.
Tucked away in the east of the Baltic, there are many surprises to be discovered here.
A journey through Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai and other cities reveals a country with breathtaking natural beauty and myriad stories. Its wooded towns and lake-fringed cities have a rich history, a thriving art scene, a native language that is closely related to Sanskrit, and even a hidden Tagore translation or two.