A week before ‘ToBeLt’ project departure to the West Coast USA, we had organised a fun going away party. During the event, we hosted a discussion amid prominent Lithuanian public figures. We asked them a question ‘What is cool about Lithuania?’ and what that meant to each of them
The discussion was moderated by ToBeLT project author Jurgis Did (Didžiulis). The panel consisted of a TV show host, journalist and culinary book author Beata Nicholson, comedian Paulius Ambrazevičius, singer & media agency guru Dovilė Fimanavičiūtė and an accordion prodigy Martynas Levickis. All of the discussion participants having been exposed to emigration in one way or another in their lives, had a slightly different perspective on the essence of Lithuanian ‘cool’. That said, they were in agreement, that choosing what elements comprise our identity and with it, what kind of Lithuanian we want to be, depends entirely on us.
“Our identity is a very private matter and no state or policy can regulate it, regardless of what anybody thinks. Being a Lithuanian is awesome to me, because I see how cool Lithuanians are all over the world. As part of ‘ToBeLT’ mission, we want to strengthen the connection between all Lithuanians. By sharing their stories, we will showcase how big Lithuania really is and how awe-inspiring are its people,” — said the discussion moderator Jurgis Didžiulis.
When asked about the times she is most proud of calling herself Lithuanian, Dovilė Filmanavičiūtė answered: “The pride hits me every time I realise how much we have already accomplished, being such a small nation. We are modern, smart, world-wise, competitive, authentic. I also like that we are often overly-critical towards ourselves. This feeling fosters our determination to grow and take huge leaps in the global context. Wait and see till we show the world what we’re made of!”
“Humour Club” comedian Paulius Ambrazevičius is most proud of being Lithuanian when he hosts a foreign friend or is traveling himself. “I keep telling everyone the neat tidbits from Lithuanian history — being ‘from sea to sea’(sic. XII century Lithuania being one of the largest countries in Europe), partizan movement, Sąjudis, contribution to the fall of Soviet Union. Each time feeling proud that we were able to accomplish all those things”.
It was great seeing many project supporters and friends in attendance. Among them, initiative “Lietuva 4.000.000”, who are on a mission to calculate how many Lithuanians and their descendants there are in the world; inviting Lithuanians to register in the digital community.
On September 28th, we are departing on our second project mission, researching and documenting elements of Lithuanian identity across the Atlantic, visiting Lithuanian communities along the West Coast, USA.