Medal of Merit Awarded to Ann Charles, Baltic Review’s UN Bureau Chief

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Vytautas Magnus University has awarded the Silver Medal of Merit to Lithuanian-American Ann Charles, UN Bureau Chief at The Baltic Review, headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania. As reported by The Baltic Review, the medal was awarded as gratitude for Ann Charles’ work as representative of Lithuania in the United Nations, for her contribution to making the Baltic States visible in the international arena, and for her role in establishing Lithuanian UN Youth Association (LUNYA) at VMU.

The award was presented to Ann Charles in Kaunas by Julius Pranevičius, Consul General, Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in New York, together with Nida Jakubonė, Minister Counsellor, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Nations in New York, at the Office of the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in New York.

In the Letter of Appreciation addressed to Ann Charles and dated January 22, 2018, VMU Rector Prof. Juozas Augutis noted that  the birth, growth, and development of a free human being are impossible without  cultivation of the ideas of freedom, aspirations of self-realization, and peaceful co- existence. This spirit of freedom pervades the work, life, and creative activities of a modern university, a modern state, and a modern world, the letter said, highlighting the historical significance of February 16th as the day marking not only the restoration of independent State of Lithuania, but also the establishment of VMU.

“Commemorating the occasion of such a great importance for our entire nation, we would like to express our appreciation for your outstanding contribution in making the name of Lithuania widely known. Your work as an accredited journalist in the United Nations and as the first Lithuanian correspondent in this institution is of greatest significance. When Lithuania joined the United Nations, it is with your help that its name has spread far and wide in the international community.”

“On behalf of the community of VMU, we express our  most sincere  gratitude for your representation of Lithuania in the United Nations, your contribution  making both Lithuania and the Baltic states visible in the international arena, and your  role in establishing Lithuanian UN Youth Association (LUNYA) at VMU. May the celebrations of the Centenary invigorate our unyielding determination to work for the future of  Lithuania!”, VMU Rector’s letter said.

After the ceremony, Ms. Charles expressed her sincere appreciation to VMU Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Ineta Dabašinskienė and Rector Prof. Juozas Augutis for making the award possible. The awardee also thanked Jūratė Landsbergytė, Executive Director of the United Nations Association of Lithuania (UNA Lithuania) which is a member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) for her cooperation in working with Prof. Dr. Dabašinskienė at VMU.

In her speech, Ann Charles also recognized the efforts of the late Algis Tomas Geniušas, who was the President of UNA Lithuania for 17 years and inspired youth-focused university programs with emphasis on human rights, and of former American student at VMU, Olivia Wells. The latter attended a WFUNA meeting in New York with Pablo Angulo-Troconis, in charge of WFUNA’s Youth Programs and now a Sustainable Development Officer, and Ms. Ann Charles.

On May 23, 2016, a letter of agreement was signed  between Prof. Dr. Ineta Dabašinskienė,  Vice-Rector of Vytautas Magnus University and Jūratė Landsbergytė, Executive Director, UNA Lithuania, on the founding of the Lithuanian United Nations Youth Association (LUNYA). UNA Lithuania was the first of the three Baltic UNAs (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) to be established in the Baltics.

The initial meeting on the Baltic UNAs took place at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland with Dr. Marek Hagmayer, Secretary-General of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) in attendance, as well as Ann Charles (Lithuania), Ines Apelis (Latvia), and Sirje Ainso (Estonia). On September 17, 1991, the Baltic flags of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia flew over UN  Headquarters for the very first time.

Photo: Pictured from left to right are Nida Jakubonė, Minister Counsellor, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Nations in New York, Ann Charles (center) UN Bureau Chief, “Baltic Review” wearing a Silver Medal of Merit from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and Julius Pranevičius, Consul General, Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in New York. Photo by CSC. 

Article based on information by The Baltic Review.

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