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2013.06.10 11:34

World Lithuanian Economic Forum: diaspora has its potential that needs to be used

DELFI|The Lithuania Tribune2013.06.10 11:34

World Lithuanian Economic Forum (WLEF) was taking place in Vilnius on 3 June. It was the largest economic event that delivered a dialogue between the global Lithuanians and leading Lithuania-affiliated business personalities from around the world. 

World Lithuanian Economic Forum (WLEF) was taking place in Vilnius on 3 June. It was the largest economic event that delivered a dialogue between the global Lithuanians and leading Lithuania-affiliated business personalities from around the world.

The concluding discussion of the WLEF focused on the role of the Lithuanian diaspora in the generation of Lithuania’s economic growth and showed that the diaspora has its potential that still needs to be used by and for the state.

Elian Carsenet, a French entrepreneur, gave a brief presentation which revealed that 50 per cent of Lithuanian inventors work for American businesses, while only 27 per cent of them work for Lithuanian companies, 76 per cent of which are managed by Lithuanian professionals. Carsenet described such data as an opportunity that can be used for Lithuania’s advantage – “the expertise should be attracted by more active use of social networking and face-to-face dialogue,” said the entrepreneur.

Daiva Navarette, Honorary Consul of Lithuania in the United States, shared her experience with regard to the diaspora’s connections to Lithuania’s representations in the US. “Diaspora is well connected and cooperates with the Lithuanian Embassy. Governmental attention helps to establish new connections between Lithuania and its diaspora, which is always beneficial. Such agreements as the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the US would make it only easier to strengthen the ties between Lithuania and Lithuanians abroad,” argued Navarette.

According to Dainius Vaidila, a COO of California Lithuanian Credit Union, the Lithuanian diaspora differs in different regions as well as generationally. “It is important to know clearly why you need a certain segment of the diaspora. Then, those people need to be provided with information on work opportunities in Lithuania. The factor that causes troubles in the dialogue between Lithuania and its diaspora is the political swings that take place every four years. Some political continuity would be beneficial,” said Vaidila.

Tadas Lingaitis, a board member at Global Lithuanian Leaders, argued that Lithuanians abroad were ready to return to and use their skills and knowledge in Lithuania. “Certainty related to the state’s politics is the key here. Today, Lithuanian politicians have little clue about the needs of the diaspora. In a long-term, the change should be achieved by a grassroots approach focused on people living in the regions of Lithuania. Eventually, that should have only positive effects on politics and business in our country,” said Lingaitis. 

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