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2014.06.12 13:50

Lithuanian Diplomacy Star for American writer and public figure George Weigel

Ludo Segers | the Lithuania Tribune | DELFI2014.06.12 13:50

On 11 June, the eminent American author, theologian and human rights activist George Weigel was honoured with the “Lithuanian Diplomacy Star” during a ceremony at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, DC.  It was Mr. Edminas Bagdonas, Director of Eastern Neighbourhood Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that presented the medal on behalf of Mr. Linas Linkevičius, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

On 11 June, the eminent American author, theologian and human rights activist George Weigel was honoured with the “Lithuanian Diplomacy Star” during a ceremony at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, DC.  It was Mr. Edminas Bagdonas, Director of Eastern Neighbourhood Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that presented the medal on behalf of Mr. Linas Linkevičius, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Lithuanian Ambassador to the USA, Žygimantas Pavilionis underlined the work of Mr. Weigel as a tireless campaigner for democratic values, human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. These ideals were very important to Lithuanians during the struggle to regain independence and these same ideals have not lost their relevance today.

George Weigel was very active in Lithuania during Soviet occupation and had assisted with the underground publication of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania.  Mr. Weigel was also instrumental in having the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives hold hearings into human rights issues in the then USSR.  After independence he arranged meeting between former political prisoners and senior U.S. officials.

Mr. Weigel expressed his sincere appreciation for being honoured. During his speech “What Maidan means the West?” he noted that Ukraine remains, a country in deep distress, politically and economically. Maidan evolved from resistance to a corrupt government into a movement to rebuild civil society in Ukraine.  That is essential for a 21st century Ukrainian democracy.  Sadly all of this takes place in an environment of intimidation and provocation by Putin’s Russia that evokes dark shadows of the past.    Maidan represents a challenge, not only to western governments and foreign policy establishments, but to the peoples of the western democracies.  Mr. Weigel ended his presentation answering several questions from the audience.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been awarding the “Lithuanian Diplomacy Star” since 2010.  The awarded is presented to Lithuanian and foreign nationals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to broaden the name of Lithuania and thereby fostering the development of cross-border relations.

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