Minister of Culture, Mr. M. Kvietkauskas discussed the challenges of multiculturalism in Lithuania while being in New York


2019 09 06


During his visit to the USA, Minister of Culture, Mr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas visit New York public library, where he met its Vice President George Mihaltses, and curator for Slavic and East European collections, Mr. Bogdan Horbal. The Minister of Culture also met the Executive Director of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, Mr. Jonathan Brent, and took part in the discussion “Challenges of Multiculturalism in Modern Lithuania” organized by the Litvaks in New York and Chicago for the first time.

The event, to which approx. 200 listeners had come, was started by the writer, professor emeritus of the Yale University, Tomas Venclova. He raised questions about possibilities of multiculturalism and durability of hate determined by political, historical, religious, social, economic and psychological preconditions in his introductory speech.

Minister M. Kvietkauskas thanked the YIVO Institute and its manager for cooperation in various areas while researching the Yiddish culture, and for discoveries of Lithuanian Jewish heritage that are important for our mentality, identity and development of society. The Minister of Culture talked about importance of personal authentical experiences, meetings and stories for changing the person’s thinking, understanding, and expanding of perception. He also told, how he experienced shift from total lack of knowledge about Jewish heritage, history, and the Holocaust, until understanding and sensing of the rich multicultural network that had existed in Lithuania.

“The sense of connection with lives and stories of other people appeared. Literature and academic researches led to meetings, discussions, stories of memories that changed my way of thinking. I am glad that educational impact is clearly felt in the Lithuanian public area. We see its positive result – the changing thinking of young people. It is manifested by active young electors in the recent elections of the President. They chose pro-Western and democratic politicians. It I the result of our changing education and public discourse,” – noted Minister of Culture, Mr. M. Kvietkauskas.

The Minister of Culture is going to visit the Jewish Museum in New York, archive of advance-guard cinema, “Anthology Film Archives” of Jonas Mekas, Department of Culture of New York City, and he is going to meet artists living in New York, representatives of the Lithuanian Alliance of America and the Lithuanian National Foundation, and he is going to participate in the opening of exhibition dedicated to the 95th birth anniversary of the emigrant artist, Mr. Vytautas Ignas.

Minister M. Kvietkauskas is leaving to Chicago on the 7th of September, where he will continue his visit.