Lithuanian professionals celebrate Christmas with a festive day of networking and discussions
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 5 December 2017

Members of the Lithuanian Professionals Network in Ireland came together on Saturday the 2nd December to celebrate the end of the club's inaugural year and share news and achievements in matters relating to diaspora engagement across Lithuanian governing institutions and the attached non-governing agencies. The attendees also discussed their visions for the club's future and lined out ideas for activities and events due to take place in 2018.

Joining the members of LPNI was a guest speaker Kingsley Aikins - CEO of Diaspora Matters, an international diaspora engagement consultancy agency, whose motivating talk on maters relating to networking and the impact of globally dispersed international diasporas became the highlight of the event.

Inspired by the moving presentation by Mr. Aikins, the Lithuanian professionals carried on the discussion along with the Ambassador of Lithuania, Egidijus Meilunas, who delivered an encouraging speech and extended a heartfelt invitation for mutual cooperation. The Ambassador and members of LPNI will be meeting in the forthcoming weeks for a constructive discussion set to identify meaningful ways in contributing to the welfare of global Lithuania by creating foreign investment opportunities and positively representing the nation within the Irish community.

Followed by a brief introduction to the EPIC museum and its skilfully designed exhibition displaying the history and worldwide influences of the Irish diaspora, the discussion spilled over into an informal dinner where conversations and networking continued into the night.

Wishing each other another rewarding year ahead, LPNI will be meeting again in early 2018 with a view to deliver a confirmed agenda for the year as well as set the plan for the second annual meeting of Lithuanian professional clubs that is due to take place in Ireland in August 2018.

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By Aiste Endzinaite

LPNI attend Global Lithuania Forum in Vilnius
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LPNI attend Global Lithuania Forum in Vilnius

The last two days of October saw more than 150 members of Lithuanian diaspora meet at the inaugural Global Lithuania Forum “Kryptis Lietuva” (“Destination Lithuania” - LPNI translation) in Vilnius. Three members of LPNI, Evelina Saduikyte, Indre Lukosiute and Aiste Endzinaite made their way to the event from Dublin.

Arranged by Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the attendants of the global diaspora forum were invited to partake in two days of open discussion sessions on topics related to the Lithuanian state’s strategy in response to the country’s ongoing mass emigration and possible ways to attract foreign investment as well as create favourable conditions to encourage expatriate relocation back to Lithuania.

Among other topics, the participants pondered questions such as Lithuania’s potential value proposition in terms of its abilities to present a welcoming environment for repatriates and new residents to settle in and make a new start, facilities required for smooth resident (re-)adaptation, competitive career opportunities, favourable conditions for fostering entrepreneurship, requisite changes of social attitudes in the education sector and many other contributing factors. The importance and methods of encouraging direct investment in regions beyond Lithuania’s major cities were also debated extensively.

Recognising the unsubdued levels of emigration and the resulting necessity of the diaspora’s increasing involvement in the state’s affairs, the delegates were encouraged to keep the expatriate communities strongly focussed on Lithuania’s politics, encourage their peers to stay vocal and continue partaking in the global Lithuanian debate through active membership in Lithuanian communities, professional clubs and voluntary initiatives.

The issue of the upcoming referendum on double citizenship was touched upon at the closing debate, with hopes being raised for the diaspora communities to contribute in their involvement in lobbying activities in order to help Lithuania attain a favourable vote in 2019. LPNI plans to bring the latter issue to its members’ attention in the course of the upcoming months, with the hope of establishing a constructive discussion between partnering professional clubs and the view of setting up a working strategy for the diaspora’s contribution to the lobbying process in Lithuania and communities abroad. Watch this space to see how you can get involved and help secure double citizenship rights for yourself and your family.

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By Aiste Endzinaite

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