Valdas Adamkus ([ˈvɐ̂ˑɫdɐs ɐˈdɐmˑkʊs] (listen); born Voldemaras Adamkavičius; 3 November 1926) is a Lithuanian politician. He was the President of Lithuania from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2004 to 2009.
In Lithuania, the President's tenure lasts for five years; Adamkus' first term in office began on 26 February 1998 and ended on 28 February 2003, following his defeat by Rolandas Paksas in the next presidential election. Paksas was later impeached and removed from office by a parliamentary vote on 6 April 2004. Soon afterwards, when a new election was announced, Adamkus again ran for president and was re-elected. His approval ratings were high and he was regarded as a moral authority in the state. He was succeeded as the president on 12 July 2009 by Dalia Grybauskaitė.
He is married to Alma Adamkienė, who is involved in charitable activities in Lithuania. Following the end of his term as president, Adamkus remained involved in international development, and a member of the European Academy of Diplomacy.
|5th and 7th President of Lithuania|
12 July 2004 – 12 July 2009
|Prime Minister||Algirdas Brazauskas|
Zigmantas Balčytis (Acting)
|Preceded by||Artūras Paulauskas (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Dalia Grybauskaitė|
26 February 1998 – 26 February 2003
|Prime Minister||Gediminas Vagnorius|
Irena Degutienė (Acting)
Irena Degutienė (Acting)
Eugenijus Gentvilas (Acting)
|Preceded by||Algirdas Brazauskas|
|Succeeded by||Rolandas Paksas|
3 November 1926
|Profession||Civil engineer, civil servant|
Valdas Adamkus was born on 3 November 1926 into a Roman Catholic family in Kaunas. He was originally given the name "Voldemaras Adamkavičius" but had it changed to "Valdas Adamkus" in 1955. His father was one of the first heads of the Lithuanian Air Force School in the Republic of Lithuania. As a young man, Adamkus joined the underground against the first Soviet occupation of 1940. During World War II, his family fled Lithuania in order to avoid the second Soviet occupation in 1944. His uncle was Edvardas Adamkavičius, who was the general in Lithuanian Armed Forces during the interwar period. He attended the University of Munich in Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1949. Fluent in five languages — Lithuanian, Polish, English, Russian, and German — he served as a senior non-commissioned officer with the United States 5th Army Reserve's military intelligence unit in the 1950s. During his youth, Adamkus was interested in track and field. He also set national record at 100 metres running. In 1951, Adamkus got married to Alma Nutautaite. However, they have no children.
After arriving in Chicago, Illinois as a displaced person, he worked in an automobile factory and later as a draftsman. Adamkus graduated as a civil engineer from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1961. While a student, Adamkus, together with other Lithuanian Americans, collected about 40,000 signatures petitioning the United States government to intervene in the ongoing deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia by the Soviets. The petition was presented to then-Vice President Richard Nixon. Adamkus also raised concerns about other Soviet activities in occupied Lithuania to United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld in 1958, and to President John F. Kennedy in 1962.
He joined the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at its inception in 1970, working in Cincinnati. In 1981, he was appointed regional administrator by President Ronald Reagan, and was responsible for all air, water, hazardous waste, and other pollution control programs in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In 1985, President Reagan presented him with the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award – the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civil servant.
In 1972, Adamkus visited Lithuania for the first time in almost thirty years. He was a member of the official delegation from the United States attending an environmental conference in Moscow. As perestroika took root in the Soviet Union, Adamkus's visits to his homeland became more frequent. Valdas Adamkus served as regional administrator of the EPA for sixteen years, and retired in 1997, after twenty-nine years of service. Upon his retirement, he received a congratulatory letter from President Clinton and a Distinguished Career Award from EPA Administrator Carol Browner. EPA Region 5 presented him with the newly established "Valdas V. Adamkus Sustained Commitment to the Environment Honor Award".
Shortly after leaving the EPA, Valdas Adamkus moved back to Lithuania. Soon after his decision to run for presidency in 1998, he faced a legal battle in the Lithuanian courts. Doubts arose whether Adamkus was eligible to run for presidency due to having spent he had spent over half a century abroad, raising the possibility that he might not meet minimum residency requirements. However, the court resolved the case in Adamkus' favor, and no other obstacles remained other than his U.S. citizenship, which he officially renounced at the American Embassy in Vilnius. He was elected as President of Lithuania in 1998, defeating Artūras Paulauskas in the runoff, serving from then until 2003, when he ran for re-election, but was unexpectedly defeated by Rolandas Paksas.
He returned to politics as surprisingly as he had left, after the presidential scandal of 2003/2004, when his former rival Paksas was impeached and removed from office. In the first round of the 2004 election, held on 13 June 2004, Adamkus securing 30% of the vote – more than any other candidate. Paksas could not run for office again, because a ruling from Lithuania's Constitutional Court disallowed him from running for public office and he was, therefore, unable to register as a candidate. A runoff election was held on 27 June 2004, which Adamkus won with about 52% of the votes against Kazimira Prunskienė. By 2009 he had served the two presidential terms permitted by the Constitution of Lithuania and was succeeded as president by Dalia Grybauskaite.
In 2003 Valdas Adamkus was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Construction of Knowledge Societies. The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, noted that Adamkus was named as Ambassador "in recognition of his dedication to the Organization's aims and ideals and with a view to benefiting for the construction of knowledge societies from his wisdom and extensive experience in many of UNESCO's areas of concern, in particular promotion of social development, cultural diversity, dialogue and international cooperation."
Under the presidency of Valdas Adamkus, Lithuania actively promoted democracy in the formerly Soviet Eastern European and Asian nations. President Adamkus, together with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Javier Solana, Boris Gryzlov and Ján Kubiš, served as a mediator during Ukraine's political crisis, when two candidates in the 2004 presidential election, Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko, each claimed victory. President Adamkus recalled in an interview that "when I asked what we could do to help, Kuchma said the friends of the Ukrainian people should drop whatever they were doing and come to Kiev immediately.". The next day international mediators met in Ukraine. The crisis was resolved after a new election was held.
Valdas Adamkus and his Estonian counterpart Arnold Rüütel rejected an invitation to participate in a commemorative celebration of the end of World War II in Europe in 2005. President Adamkus expressed the view that the war's end, in Lithuania, marked the beginning of a fifty-year Soviet occupation and repression. In response, on 22 July, the United States Congress unanimously passed a resolution that Russia should "issue a clear and unambiguous statement of admission and condemnation of the illegal occupation and annexation by the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991 of the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania", but Russia refused.
President Adamkus supported an active dialogue between European Union member states and those former Soviet republics such as Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova, that are actively seeking membership in the EU. He expressed support for these candidate members during the Community of Democratic Choice in 2005, at the Vilnius Conference 2006, and on several other occasions.
Valdas Adamkus is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
Valdas Adamkus enjoyed a very high approval rating in Lithuania. He was also recognized for the second time for his support of Lithuanian youth. President Adamkus was actively involved in government reorganizations in 2004 and 2006. In his 2006 State of the Nation address, Adamkus stated that his top priorities were:
Valdas Adamkus has been honored with the following decorations:
|1985||President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service||United States|
|1998||Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon||Iceland|
|1998||Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav||Norway|
|1998||Member First Class of the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise||Ukraine|
|1999||Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana||Estonia|
|1999||Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer||Greece|
|1999||Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic||Italy|
|1999||Knight of the Order of the White Eagle||Poland|
|1999||Grand Cross of the Order for the Services||Malta|
|1999||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary||Hungary|
|2000||Recipient 1st class of the Order of Friendship||Kazakhstan|
|2001||Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of Three Stars||Latvia|
|2001||Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honour||France|
|2001||Sash of the Order of the Star of Romania||Romania|
|2002||Recipient of the Order of St. Meshrop Mashtots||Armenia|
|2002||Collar and the Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose||Finland|
|2002||Member of the Order For Special Merits||Uzbekistan|
|2002||St Andrew 'Dialogue of Civilisation' prize laureate||Russia|
|2003||Recipient of the Order of Vytautas the Great with Golden Chain||Lithuania|
|2004||Collar of the Order of the White Star||Estonia|
|2005||Dame of the Collar of the Order of Isabel the Catholic||Kingdom of Spain|
|2005||Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany||Germany|
|2006||Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold||Kingdom of Belgium|
|2006||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath||United Kingdom|
|2006||Member First Class of the Order of Merit||Ukraine|
|2007||Member of the Order of Mother Theresa||Albania|
|2007||Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum||Japan|
|2007||Recipient of the St. George's Victory Order||Georgia|
|2007||European of the Year|
|2008||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion||Netherlands|
|2008||Collar of the Order of the Merit of Chile||Republic of Chile|
|2009||Grand Star of the Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria||Austria|
|2009||Member of the Order of Stara Planina||Bulgaria|
|2009||Recipient of the Order of Liberty||Ukraine|
Valdas Adamkus holds honorary doctorates at universities in Lithuania, the United States and other countries, including:
| President of Lithuania
| President of Lithuania
Presidential elections were held in Lithuania in December 1997 and January 1998. In the first round on 21 December, the independent candidate Artūras Paulauskas led the former U.S. civil servant Valdas Adamkus but neither received a majority of the vote, resulting in a run-off being held on 4 January 1998, in which Adamkus defeated Paulauskas.2002–03 Lithuanian presidential election
Presidential elections were held in Lithuania in December 2002 and January 2003. In the first round on 22 December 2002, Valdas Adamkus held a large lead over Rolandas Paksas of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). However, Paksas defeated Adamkus in the second round held on 5 January 2003.2004 Lithuanian presidential election
Presidential elections were held in Lithuania in June 2004 alongside European elections. They were held following the impeachment of President Rolandas Paksas, who was elected in January 2003. Paksas was impeached for allegedly leaking classified material, and granting citizenship to Russian businessman Jurij Borisov in exchange for financial support. The Constitutional Court of Lithuania ruled that Paksas could not seek re-election as president. In accordance with the constitution, the speaker of parliament, Artūras Paulauskas, became acting president pending new elections.
The candidates for the presidency were Adamkus, who had been President from 1998 to 2003 and who was running as an independent, Prunskienė of the Peasants and New Democratic Party Union (VNDS), Vilija Blinkevičiūtė of the New Union (Social Liberals) (NS), Petras Auštrevičius (independent), and Česlovas Juršėnas of the Social Democratic Party (LSDP).
In the first round on 13 June, former President, Valdas Adamkus, led the vote tally over the former Prime Minister Kazimira Prunskienė. Adamkus defeated Prunskienė in the second round on 27 June.2012 Lithuanian nuclear power referendum
An advisory referendum on the construction of a new nuclear power station was held in Lithuania on 14 October 2012, alongside parliamentary elections. The proposal was rejected by 65% of voters.Algirdas Brazauskas
Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas ([ˈɐ̂ˑlʲɡʲɪrdɐs ˈmʲîːkoːɫɐs brɐˈzɐ̂ˑʊskɐs] (listen), 22 September 1932 – 26 June 2010) was the second President of a newly independent post-Soviet Lithuania from 1993 to 1998 and Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006.
He also served as head of the Communist Party of Lithuania that broke with Moscow.Alma Adamkienė
Alma Adamkienė (née Nutautaitė; February 10, 1928) is a Lithuanian-American philologist and philanthropist. She is the wife of the former President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, and was First Lady during his two terms (1998–2003 and 2004–2009). She also holds United States citizenship.Artūras Paulauskas
Artūras Paulauskas [ɐrˈtuːrɐs pɐʊˈɫɐ̂ˑʊskɐs] (listen) (born 23 August 1953 in Vilnius) is a Lithuanian politician. He was the Speaker of Seimas, the parliament of Lithuania, from 2000 to 2006, and he served as Acting President of Lithuania from 6 April 2004 to 12 July 2004.Brazauskas Cabinet I
The First Brazauskas Cabinet was the 12th cabinet of Lithuania since 1990. It consisted of the Prime Minister and 13 government ministers.Edvardas Adamkavičius
Edvardas Adamkavičius (March 31, 1888 – May 10, 1957) was a Lithuanian general. He was born in Pikeliai, Telšiai County, Lithuania. He enlisted in the Lithuanian Army in 1918. He was made a lieutenant general on September 6, 1933, a brigadier general in 1936 and a divisional general on February 16, 1937. He retired in 1940. After the occupation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union, he fled to Germany. He immigrated to the United States in 1949. He died in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was the uncle of future President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus.International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania
The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania is a commission appointed by the President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, by presidential decree on 7 September 1998. The Commission is tasked with investigating the crimes committed during the occupation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union and Germany that lasted from 14 June 1940 to 11 March 1990. The commission consists of two subcommissions, each dealing with the 48 years of Soviet occupation and the 3 years of German occupation respectively. The Chairman of the Commission is Emanuelis Zingeris MP (since 1998). The Commission is a member institution of the European Union's Platform of European Memory and Conscience.
In 2012, financing of the commission was renewed by presidential decree by President Dalia Grybauskaitė and new commission members appointed. The new commission members include Dina Porat and Arkadiy Zeltser (both of Yad Vashem), Andrew Baker (of the American Jewish Committee), Saulius Sužiedėlis (of Millersville University), Kęstutis Grinius (of Vilnius University), Alexander Daniel (of Memorial), Nicolas Lane (of the American Jewish Committee), Timothy D. Snyder (of Yale University), Françoise Thom (of Sorbonne University), Janos M. Rainer, and Arvydas Anušauskas (chairman of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defense). Emanuelis Zingeris was again appointed chairman of the commission.Kazimira Prunskienė
Kazimira Danutė Prunskienė (pronunciation ) (born 26 February 1943 in Vasiuliškė, Švenčionys district municipality) is a Lithuanian politician who was the first Prime Minister of Lithuania after the declaration of independence of 11 March 1990, and Minister of Agriculture in the government of Gediminas Kirkilas.
She was the leader of the Peasants and New Democratic Party Union and the Lithuanian People's Party. From 1981–1986, she worked in West Germany.
She ran in the 2004 Lithuanian presidential election against Valdas Adamkus, hoping to receive votes from supporters of impeached president Rolandas Paksas. She finished in second place in the first round and was defeated in the runoff.
Prunskienė is also a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.Kazys Morkūnas
Kazys Morkūnas (c. 1925 – 2014) was a Lithuanian stained glass artist. He is considered a master of the form.He was a student of Stasys Ušinskas and along with fellow pupil Algimantas Stoskus they began creating new methods that incorporated thick panels of glass which have been adopted by other artists.His 1960 work Morning incorporated a special mirror glass and was the first stained glass work to incorporate a nude from folklore. His work was part of the Soviet Pavilions at both the Expo 67 and Expo 70. He created miniature stained glass replicas of the Lithuanian coat of arms (vytis) as souvenirs which were sold after re-establishment of independence in 1990. He created the large pieces Šventė (Feast) (1980s) and Žalgirio mūšis (The Battle of Grunwald) (2010s) that adorn buildings in the Lithuanian Parliamentary complex.In 1985, Morkunas was awarded the USSR State Prize. In 2000, he was awarded the 4th Grade Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas by the Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus.He died in January 2014 at the age of 88 and was buried at Antakalnio cemetery.List of people from Kaunas
The following is a list of notable people from Kaunas, Lithuania.
Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania
Aharon Amir, Israeli Hebrew poet, translator, and writer
Moshe Arens, Israeli statesman and diplomat
Donatas Banionis, actor
Aharon Barak (originally Brick), professor of law at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and former President of the Supreme Court of Israel
Antanas Baranauskas, poet, mathematician, and Catholic bishop
Svetlana Beriosova, prima ballerina with the Royal Ballet of England
Montague Burton, British retail magnate
Algimantas Dailide (1921 – 2015)m official of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police (Saugumas) during World War II
Marija Gimbutienė, archaeologist
Sara Ginaite (born 1924), former resistance fighter, now Canadian academic
Leah Goldberg (1911–1970), Israeli poet
Emma Goldman, anarchist
Leyb Gorfinkel (1896–1976), advocate, journalist, and politician who was originally of Lithuanian and later of Israeli nationality
Juozas Grušas, writer and editor
Joseph Gurwin (1920–2009), American philanthropist
Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, basketball player
Tadas Ivanauskas, zoologist and biologist
Valdas Ivanauskas, footballer
Šarūnas Jasikevičius, basketball player
Romas Kalanta, student protester
Kęstutis Kemzūra, basketball player
Linas Kleiza, basketball player
Albertas Vijūkas-Kojalavičius, historian, theologian, and translator
Vytautas Landsbergis, politician and member of the European Parliament
Emmanuel Levinas, philosopher
Aleksandras Machtas, chess player
George Maciunas, artist, founding member of Fluxus
Abraham Mapu, Hebrew novelist of the Haskalah movement
Šarūnas Marčiulionis, basketball player
Rūta Meilutytė, swimmer
Adam Mickiewicz, Romantic poet
Hermann Minkowski, mathematician and one of Einstein's teachers
Oskar Minkowski, physician and medical researcher
Donatas Motiejūnas, basketball player
Yitzhak Olshan, second President of the Supreme Court of Israel
Vlado Perlemuter, pianist
Petras Rimša, sculptor and medalist
Vladimir Romanov, businessman, chairman of UBIG Investments
Mykolas Romeris, lawyer and judge
Arvydas Sabonis, basketball player
Sidney Shachnow, US Army general
Mykolas Sleževičius, lawyer, political figure, and journalist
Ladislas Starevich, stop-motion animator
Yehezkel Streichman, Israeli painter
Daniel Tammet, British writer
Gintautas Umaras, retired track and road racing cyclist
Lukas Verzbicas, American long-distance runner and triathlete
Jonas Vileišis, lawyer, politician, and diplomat
Edita Vilkevičiūtė, model
Vytautas Žalakevičius, film director and writer
L. L. Zamenhof, inventor of the Esperanto languageLithuanian World Community
The Lithuanian World Community (Lithuanian: Pasaulio lietuvių bendruomenė or PLB) is a non-governmental and non-profit organization established in 1949 that unifies Lithuanian communities abroad. The Constitution of the Lithuanian World Community declares that it consists of all Lithuanians living abroad. The Community is active in 42 countries, including representation in Lithuania.Lithuania–Mexico relations
Lithuania–Mexico relations refers to the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Lithuania and the United Mexican States. Both nations are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.Paksas Cabinet I
The First Paksas Cabinet was the 9th cabinet of Lithuania since 1990. It consisted of the Prime Minister and 14 government ministers.Rolandas Paksas
Rolandas Paksas ([rɔˈɫɐ̂ˑndɐs ˈpaːksɐs] (listen); born 10 June 1956) is a Lithuanian politician who was President of Lithuania from 2003 to 2004. He was previously Prime Minister of Lithuania in 1999 and again from 2000 to 2001, and he also served as Mayor of Vilnius from 1997 to 1999 and again from 2000 to 2001. He has led Order and Justice from 2004 to 2016 and has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009.
A national aerobatics champion in the 1980s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Paksas founded a construction company, Restako. In 1997, he was elected to Vilnius City Council for the centre-right Homeland Union and became mayor. In May 1999, Paksas was appointed Prime Minister, but resigned five months later after a disagreement over privatisation. Paksas joined the Liberal Union of Lithuania (LLS) in 2000. The LLS won the 2000 election, and Paksas became PM again, but he left within seven months after another dispute over economic reforms.
In 2002, Paksas founded the Liberal Democratic Party, and ran for the presidency, winning the run-off against incumbent Valdas Adamkus in January 2003. It emerged that he had granted citizenship to a major campaign donor, leading to his impeachment and removal from office in April 2004. He was the first European head of state to have been impeached. Barred from the Seimas, Paksas was elected to the European Parliament in 2009, while leading his party, now called Order and Justice (TT). His lifetime ban from the parliament was ruled to be disproportionate measure by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011. In 2018 the amendment which would allow for Paksas to run for parliamentary seat is to be submitted. But he will not be allowed to run for president or become the speaker of the ParliamentVilnius Conference 2006
Vilnius Conference 2006: Common Vision for Common Neighborhood brought together delegations from the Baltic and Black Sea regions to discuss common interests and reinforce their commitments to the advancement of democracy and common values in their respective regions. The Conference took place in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and was hosted by the President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus.Vincas Kudirka
Vincas Kudirka (31 December [O.S. 19 December] 1858 – 16 November [O.S. 4 November] 1899) was a Lithuanian poet and physician, and the author of both the music and lyrics of the Lithuanian National Anthem, Tautiška giesmė. He is regarded in Lithuania as a National Hero. Kudirka used pen names V. Kapsas, Paežerių Vincas, Vincas Kapsas, P.Vincas, Varpas, Q.D, K., V.K, Perkūnas.
Kudirka was born in Paežeriai. He began studying history and philosophy in Warsaw in 1881, but changed his major and began studying medicine the following year. During his studies, he was arrested as a subversive for having a copy of Das Kapital in his possession, and was expelled from the University of Warsaw, but later re-admitted. He graduated in 1889, and worked as a country doctor in Šakiai and Naumiestis.
Kudirka began writing poetry in 1888. Simultaneously he became more active in the Lithuanian national rebirth movement. Together with other Lithuanian students in Warsaw, he founded the secret society Lietuva ("Lithuania"). The following year the society began publishing the clandestine newspaper Varpas ("The Bell"), which Kudirka edited and contributed to for the next ten years. In issue number 6 of Varpas, in September 1898, he published the text of Tautiška Giesmė, which would officially become in 1918, the Lithuanian National Anthem, set to music written by Kudirka himself for a violin.
Kudirka gave much to Lithuanian culture, and also published a collection of Lithuanian popular songs. He was also a noted writer of satire.
He died of tuberculosis at Naumiestis, on 16 November 1899, at age 40. The second half of Tautiška Giesmė was engraved on his gravestone.
On 5 July 2009, a statue of Vincas Kudirka was unveiled beside the Gediminas Avenue, the main street of the capital Vilnius. The unveiling, by dignitaries, including the Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, coincided with festivities marking the 1000th anniversary of the first time Lithuania was mentioned in official chronicles.
Leaders of Lithuania since 1919
|LKP First Secretaries2|
|Presidents (since 1990)|