f_0010091_7838 - Lithuania 2008 A Success Story Thomas P...

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Fall 2008 The Ambassadors REVIEW 62 Lithuania 2008: A Success Story * Thomas P. Melady, Ph.D. Professor and Senior Diplomat in Residence, Institute of World Politics United States Ambassador to the Holy See, 1989-1993 United States Ambassador to Uganda, 1972-1973 United States Ambassador to Burundi, 1969-1972 Senior Advisor to the US Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly President Emeritus of Sacred Heart University Former United States Assistant Secretary for Post Secondary Education Margaret B. Melady, Ph.D. Former Member of the Faculties of Seton Hall University, St. Joseph’s University and The George Washington University Former President of the American University in Rome e revisited Lithuania this summer, 15 years after our first visit. We met leaders in both the public and private sectors and toured the entire country. From communications to living standards, the change has been remarkable. Lithuania in 2008 is a success story. In 1993, we went to Lithuania under the sponsorship of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), a nongovernmental organization that promotes private enterprise development around the world. Ambassador Melady advised the Rector of Kaunas University of Technology on the modernization of the senior educational administration of the university. Dr. Margaret Melady conducted a seminar on educational and community affairs for aspiring teachers. During our month’s stay in Kaunas, we observed a population that was just beginning to emerge from its Soviet-dominated past. The city was drab and dreary with few restaurants and cafés, most of which offered only a few selections. Buildings were in need of repair. Kaunas University of Technology was the exception. University leaders and department chairs were thinking of the future, eager to introduce reforms that would benefit students in their newly-independent country. Walking through Kaunas in 2008, we admired the restored buildings, the bustling shops and the new international hotels. The dynamism generated by Kaunas University of Technology has spread to a number of other institutions, including a new private university. Transformation was evident throughout Lithuania. In this opinion piece, we wish to emphasize the importance of culture on the contemporary situation of the Lithuanian people as we look at the impact of history, geopolitical issues and other matters and offer a forecast for the future. * The authors appreciate the assistance of Mr. William Brownlee, Research Assistant at the Institute of World Politics, in the preparation of this article. W
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Fall 2008 The Ambassadors REVIEW 63 History: A European Giant The Lithuanian state traces its roots to the early 13 th century unifications of King Mindaugas. Subsequent rulers extended their domain to include most of what is today Belarus and Ukraine. By the end of the 14 th century, Lithuania was the largest state in Europe. In 1386, Lithuania and neighboring Poland were united under a common ruler.
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f_0010091_7838 - Lithuania 2008 A Success Story Thomas P...

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