Professor Irena Veisaitė receives “Borderlander” title


2019 05 31


At the solemn ceremony which took place in Sejny, literature researcher, theatrologist, founder of the Open Society Fund-Lithuania, professor Irena Veisaitė was awarded the “Borderlander” title. It is one of the most prestigious awards in Poland.

This title aims to reward and popularize the work of today’s “bridge builders” who promote borderline ideas, break ingrained stereotypes, build bridges between different nations and religions.

Prof. I. Veisaitė was awarded the prize for her practice of the ethos of the marginalized, her art and her life philosophy. Founder of the Open Society Fund-Lithuania prof. I. Veisaitė devoted her life to theatre criticism, student education, civil society development in both independent Lithuania and Central and Eastern Europe. After the restoration of independence of Lithuania, prof. I. Veisaitė initiated many cultural exchange projects.

“A borderline person, first and foremost, is a mediator, a medium that is able to discover the path through very dangerous boundaries and lead others to another reality. Irena Veisaitė was able, with understanding and compassion, to connect the world before the Holocaust and after the Holocaust, to combine Jewish and Lithuanian identity, to unite the world of interwar intelligentsia and modern reality, and to bring so many young, modern people into high culture. I would like to express my endless gratitude and hope that Irena, as a medium, will continue to lead us, so that the world and history would no longer be a terrible dream,” – said Minister of Culture Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, congratulating the laureate.

The laureate’s intellectual biography is best revealed by prof. I. Veisaitė’s and Aurimas Švedas’ book “Life should be transparent”. Its dramaturgy is created by highlighting very strong, symbolic scenes that are important for the entire Lithuanian historical memory. This book was recognized as the best in the category of publicism and documentary in the “Book of the Year 2018” campaign.

An exhibition dedicated to prof. I. Veisaitė was also opened at the event, and the mentioned book “Life should be transparent”, translated into Polish by Beata Kalęba and issued by publisher “Pogranicze”, was presented.

The most prominent awards received by prof. I. Veisaitė, are: the Person of Tolerance title, Barbora Radvilaitė medal, the Cross of Officer of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, Ministry of Culture’s “Carry Your Light and Believe” medal of honour, Goethe Medal given by the Goethe Institute in Weimar, the Grand Cross of Commander of the Order for Merits to Lithuania.

The “Borderlander” title was established by the Nations, Cultures and Arts Foundation “Borderland” located in Sejny. This title has been awarded to Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski, Lithuanian poet, essayist Tomas Venclova, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, Ukrainian essayist, historian and publicist Bohdan Osadchiuk and Italian writer Claudio Magris.


Wiesław Szumiński photo