VMU Opened Office in Washington D.C. (PHOTO, VIDEO)

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On Thursday, September 27th, VMU hosted the official opening events of Vytautas Magnus University North America, the university’s new office, which will be based in Washington, DC, USA.

The morning press conference featured a panel of representatives, including VMU Rector Prof. Zigmas Lydeka, Juilliard School alum and VMU visiting professor Edvinas Minkštimas, HSBC Vice President Mr. Rokas Beresniovas, Associate Dean for Administration at the Juilliard School Adam Meyer, and VMU Vice-Dean for Public Communication Prof. Auksė Balčytienė. The official opening ceremony and celebratory concert, performed by students of the VMU Music Academy, took place later that afternoon.

Of all the universities in Lithuania, Vytautas Magnus University is considered to be the most liberal and modern. Those who re-established VMU after the Cold War crafted an academic vision, which specifically incorporated the key Western values of democracy, openness, and tolerance. Today, VMU is the first Lithuanian university to open an office in North America. The creation of this VMU branch will help advance the university mission of fostering intellectual sophistication and civic consciousness in its students by collaborating with universities from abroad.

One of the main goals of Vytautas Magnus University North America (VMU NA) is to foster international growth and establish partnerships with the most prominent schools, universities and other educational and cultural programs in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The VMU Music Academy has already established a partnership with Juilliard, the world-famous academy of performing arts.

Panelist Adam Meyer of the Juilliard School spoke regarding the education philosophy at the American university: "It‘s our desire to see students be not just technically proficient in whatever their artistic passion is, but also to be global citizens who understand the world around them, and understand the context in which they‘re performing and perfecting their art“.

Prof. Auksė Balčytienė of VMU agreed, adding that "in many ways we cannot understand and comprehend the world without establishing partnerships, friendships, and an empathetic relationship with our context. It helps us better understand not only who we, as humans, are, but also how this whole world functions and what‘s our role and mission“.

VMU NA will continue to seek out and build partnerships with North American universities that share VMU‘s dedication to providing students a broad-based, liberal arts education.

According to Juilliard alum Edvinas Minkštimas, VMU NA plans to build these bridges by "bringing opportunities not only for students but for faculty [at VMU] as well, and for those American researchers, scholars and potential students who want to learn about not only VMU but also Lithuania, its people, culture, and world. The sky is the limit, really. We started with just an idea, what, one year ago? And it‘s taken on life, developed beautifully, and will continue to do so“.

The already established VMU Foundation (US) has agreed to work alongside VMU NA to create privately funded student scholarships and long-term alumni programs.

For more information, please visit the website of Vytautas Magnus University North America (VMU NA).

Video reports by Kristijonas Jakubsonas (k.jakubsonas@vkt.vdu.lt). Photo report by Lukas Motiejūnas (lukas.motiejunas@fc.vdu.lt).

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