About

To mark the 80th anniversary of massive WWII refugee flight west, the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and the NVO Baltic Heritage Network are organizing an international conference Eighty Years after 1944: Then and Now. A three-day conference will take place on June 26-28, 2024 at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, Vilnius.

The Second World War left over 400,000 people of Eastern and Central Europe (including over 200,000 Baltic people) homeless, creating entire communities of displaced persons (DPs) in West Germany, Austria, Italy, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden after the war, the majority of whom later emigrated to North and South America and Australia.

WWII formed a new generation, which some historians call “a diaspora of the highest maturity” and which gave the Baltic States such personalities as the President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus (1998-2003 and 2004-2009), the President of the Republic of Latvia Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga (1999-2007) and the President of the Republic of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves (2006-2016).

The DPs, a phenomenon of the 20th century, symbolize the loss of home, the separation of families, and the fragmentation of nations as well as the irreversible change in the social fabric of their countries. At the same time, they were instrumental for the three Baltic States in their struggle for freedom and independence, which all three of them regained in the 1990s.

The organizers of the conference invite to (re)examine the historical context of WWII and its aftermath, delve into the experiences and testimonies of the DPs, explore the Baltic diaspora narrative in literature and arts, and discuss its cultural and historical heritage and legacy, including various memory institutions in the diaspora and home countries and their rich collections. Finally, we invite you to look into the current situation of the Baltic diaspora: its relationship with the state, the new possibilities, challenges and its future.

The conference is open to heritage preservationists, historians, anthropologists, literary scholars, art historians, political scientists, sociologists and other specialists and researchers.

Proposals on the following topics are invited:
– Historical context
– People
– Experiences and testimonies
– Baltic diaspora narrative in literature and arts
– Preservation, access and research of the cultural-historical heritage of the Baltic diaspora in three Baltic States and abroad
– Historical memory and memorialization
– Baltic diaspora in the world: political, organizational, economic, cultural and educational activities
– The Baltics and other diaspora communities
– Baltic diaspora after 1990: new possibilities and challenges
– The state and diaspora

There is a conference fee. To learn more go to: https://www.balther.net/cooperation-2/conferences/2024-eighty-years-after-1944-then-and-now/registration/

Confrence venue: Conference Hall, 5th floor

Conference language: English

Organizers: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and Baltic Heritage Network

Partners: Adolfas Damušis Democracy Studies Center of the National Library of Lithuania, Lithuanian Research Center in Chicago, Estonian Museum Canada VEMU, Estonian National Archives, Estonian Literary Museum, Estonian National Museum and Latvian National Archives

The conference is partally funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture

Program

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26
8.30-9.00 Registration and coffee (Atrium 5th Floor)
9.00-9.15 Opening of the Conference (Conference Hall 5th Floor)

09.15-10.00 KEYNOTE SPEECH

  • Prof. Egidijus Aleksandravičius. The Generation of Poets & Solders in the History of Emigration of Baltic People (Vytautas Magnus University)

10.00-11.15 PANEL 1
(Moderated by Piret Noorhani)

11.15-12.30 PANEL 2
(Moderated by Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė)

12.30-12.45 Coffee break

12.45-14.00 PANEL 3
(Moderated by Birgit Kibal)

14.00-15.00 Lunch

15.00-16.15 PANEL 4
(Moderated by Kristina Lapienytė)

17.00-19.00 Exhibition Opening and Reception (Education Lab-Laimė Lukošiūnienė Hall 5th Floor)

THURSDAY, JUNE 27

8.00-8.30 Registration, coffee
8.30-10.00 BaltHerNet member general meeting

10.00-11.30 PANEL 5
(Moderated by Dr. Jolanta Budriūnienė)

11.30-11.45 Coffee break

11.45-13.15 PANEL 6
(Moderated by Dr. Ilona Strumickienė)

13.15-14.30 Lunch

14.30-16.00 PANEL 7
(Moderated by Riina Reinvelt)

16.30-18.00 Screening of the film “The Story of the Baltic University” (directed by Helga Merits, 2015, 52 min.)

FRIDAY, JUNE 28

9.30-10.00 Registration, coffee

10.00-11.30 PANEL 8
(Moderated by Birgit Kibal)

11.30-11.45 Coffee break

11.45-13.30 PANEL 9
(Moderated by Piret Noorhani)

13.30-14.00 Closing remarks

Speakers

Kerly Ilves
Keila Kopvillem
Maija Krūmiņa
Dr. Robertas Vitas
Ellen Valter
Hiljar Tammela
Tina Tamman
Brian Traantoft Rasmussen
Thomas Svaneborg
Dr. Ilona Strumickienė
Ignas Stanevičius
Dr. Laima Vincė Sruoginis
Ann Tündern-Smith
Vaidas Petrulis
Prof. Danutė Petrauskaitė
Dr. Brigita Tranavičiūtė
Arvydas Pakštalis
Piret Noorhani
Dr. Maarja Merivoo-Parro
Helga Merits
Dr. Daiva Litvinskaitė
Dr. Lara Lempertienė
Dr. Regina Laukaitytė
Kristina Lapienytė
Dr. Jolanta Kuznecovienė
Assoc. Prof. Žydronė Kolevinskienė
Birgit Kibal
Andris Ķesteris
Maarja Hollo
Dr. Dainius Genys
Prof. Vytis Ciubrinskas
Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė
Regina Butkus
Dr. Jolanta Budriūnienė
Sigita Balzekas
Dr. Egidijus Balandis
Kerly Ilves

Kerly Ilves

Kerly Ilves was born in Tartu, Estonia. Studied Human Geography at Tartu University (MA). After various jobs in the field of science centre, vocational education and photography, she was introduced to the archival work at VEMU Estonian Museum Canada by Piret Noorhani in 2011. Ever since Kerly has found the assistant archivist position very interesting, especially the part of working on photography collections. Therefore, she has been coming back to Toronto to work at the museum throughout the years, until 2020 when she got more involved with VEMU’s work on a more permanent basis. Kerly has been mostly organizing a large photography collection of Säägi family, Estonians who made Canada their home after fleeing Estonia. Her many tasks involve also sorting the book and magazine collections, taking photos and supporting the managing work of the archives in VEMU.

Keila Kopvillem

Keila Kopvillem

Keila Kopvillem is an Estonian-Canadian born in Toronto, Canada. She studied History at University of Toronto (BA) and obtained her Ontario Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management at Humber College in 2017. She has international experience in art and culture, working in Venice during the Biennale. She earned her MA in Arts and Heritage: Policy, Management and Education at Maastricht University and as part of her degree worked in Tallinn at Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom in 2018.Keila has worked as Archivist & Research Associate at VEMU Estonian Museum Canada since 2020.

Maija Krūmiņa

Maija Krūmiņa

Maija Krūmiņa is a leading researcher at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, University of Latvia. She earned her PhD in Humanities and Arts (History and Archaeology) from the University of Latvia in 2023. Maija specializes in oral history and biographical research methods, as evident in her PhD thesis titled “Memories of the Refugee Journey during World War II in the Life Stories of Latvian Exiles,” as well as in numerous academic articles published both nationally and internationally. Alongside her research work, she serves as a board member of the Association of Latvian Oral History Researchers – “Lifestory.” The Association focuses on training new interviewers, organizing fieldwork expeditions and presenting life stories to the public through performances, events and publications.

Dr. Robertas Vitas

Dr. Robertas Vitas

Robertas Vitas, PhD serves as Chairman of the Board of the Lithuanian Research Center in Lemont and Chicago and participated in its founding in 1982. Vitas has published The United States and Lithuania: The Stimson Doctrine of Nonrecognition; Civil-Military Relations in Lithuania Under President Antanas Smetona 1926-1940; and two volumes of U.S. National Security Policy and Strategy: Documents and Policy Proposals, co-edited with Sam C. Sarkesian and John Allen Williams. His other publications include over two dozen scholarly reports, articles, book chapters and book reviews. One of his articles published by the US Army Command and General Staff College was translated into Chinese by the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense for use in officer education. He has served on the editorial boards of Armed Forces & Society, Journal of Baltic Studies, Lituanus, and Presidential Studies Quarterly.

Ellen Valter

Ellen Valter is a lawyer (University of Toronto 1998) and cultural heritage conservator (Fleming College 2018), and is currently enrolled at University of Toronto in the Master of Museum Studies program. She leads the $47 million KESKUS International Estonian Centre project currently in construction in downtown Toronto. She received Estonia’s Order of the White Star IV Class in 2014 for her work in furthering the Estonian diaspora.

Hiljar Tammela

Hiljar Tammela

Hiljar Tammela is a Researcher at the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory. He earned his degree, MA in history, from the University of Tartu. He has been researching various topics, mostly large-scale 20th-century processes and movements in the Baltic region. Hiljar enjoys both reading narrative documents and crunching numbers in historical databases. Currently, his primary interest lies in WWII Estonian refugees.

Tina Tamman

Tina Tamman

Tina Tamman studied English and literature at Tartu University, graduating in 1972. She was awarded a PhD for researching the biography of diplomat August Torma in 2010. Tamman published a few biographies/novels of Estonian diplomats. She is independent researcher, living in England.

Brian Traantoft Rasmussen

Brian Traantoft Rasmussen

Brian Traantoft Rasmussen is an editor at Aarhus University Press, editor and consultant at Københavns Folkeuniversitet (People’s University of Copenhagen), regular columnist at the newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad. He holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of Copenhagen, and a Master of Social Sciences in Global Refugee Studies from Aalborg University. He has worked as a journalist at the science media outlet Vid&Sans and has written research and outreach articles on refugees and cultural encounters for publications, such as Historisk Tidsskrift, Atlas Magasin and POV International.

Thomas Svaneborg

Thomas Svaneborg

Thomas G. Svaneborg is an investigative reporter at the financial newspaper Børsen. Earlier, he worked as a financial correspondent for Danish Broadcasting Corporation and before that he was the editor of the investigative desk at Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten business section. He has written five books and received several awards for his journalistic works, books and documentary.

Dr. Ilona Strumickienė

Dr. Ilona Strumickienė

Ilona Strumickienė, PhD is the Head of the Statehood Center at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. Her main research areas include the history of Lithuanian diaspora, diaspora and migration policy, return migration and its impact on Lithuanian society.

Ignas Stanevičius

Ignas Stanevičius

Ignas Stanevičius is a doctoral student at the Faculty of History, Vilnius University, preparing a dissertation on the topic “Lithuanian Clergy in Exile (1944-1990): Between Pastoral Challenges and Social Mission.” His research interests include Christian history, diaspora studies and the 20th-century migration processes.

Dr. Laima Vincė Sruoginis

Dr. Laima Vincė Sruoginis

Laima Vincė Sruoginis, PhD is an author, academic, and life-long part of the North American Lithuanian Diaspora. Her academic monograph, Vanished Lands: Memory and Postmemory in North American Lithuanian Diaspora Literature is published by Peter Lang International Publishers (2023). She has published over twenty books in the United States, Europe, and the
United Kingdom. She earned a PhD in Humanities from Vilnius University, an MFA in Writing from Columbia University, an MFA in Nonfiction from the University of New Hampshire, and a BA in English and German Literature from Rutgers University. She is the recipient of two Fulbright grants, a National Endowment for the Arts grant in Literature, a PEN Translation Fund grant, an Academy of American Poets Award in Poetry, an Association of the Advancement of Baltic Studies book subvention grant and dissertation grant, among other honors. Laima Vincė Sruoginis has been awarded a postdoctoral research grant by the Research Council of Lithuania. She is a researcher at Vytautas Magnus University.

Ann Tündern-Smith

Ann Tündern-Smith

Ann Tündern-Smith is the oldest of the children born to post-WWII refugees in Australia.  This is significant in the Australian context, as the Minister responsible for initiating its migration program, who organised for Baltic and other East European refugees to come to Australia, made popular an earlier political slogan, “populate or perish.”  She has been researching lives of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian “Displaced Persons” on the first ship to Australia, the “USAT General Stuart Heintzelman,” for more than 25 years now, once she confirmed that they included her mother.

Vaidas Petrulis

Vaidas Petrulis

Vaidas Petrulis is an architectural historian currently holding the position of Head of the Architecture and Urbanism Research Center at the Institute of Architecture and Construction at Kaunas University of Technology. His primary research interests lie in the history and theory of 20th-century architecture, with a current focus on the heritage of Lithuanian refugee architects in the US and Canada following World War II.

Prof. Danutė Petrauskaitė

Prof. Danutė Petrauskaitė

Danutė Petrauskaitė is Professor and Research Fellow at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, a member of Lithuania Composers’ Union, Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS), and Academia Europaea. In 1978, she graduated from the Lithuania State Conservatoire (now Lithuania Academy of Music and Theatre); in 1993, she completed her post-graduate studies at Vilnius University and defended her PhD theses. In 2001-2015, Petrauskaitė was in charge of the Institute of Musicology at Klaipėda University.

The principal areas of her interest are Lithuanian music, history of music pedagogy, music culture of Lithuanian emigrants in exile, connections between Lithuanian music and other nations, music and politics. She is the author of many books: Jeronimas Kacinskas. Life and Musical Activity (1997), Klaipėda Music School in 1923-1939 (1998), Prudencija Bičkienė (1998), Petras Armonas at the Crossroads of Musical Cultures (2005), Lithuanian Musical Culture in the United States of America: Contours of National Identity (2015), The Nylon Curtain (2018, co-authored with V. Gruodytė and R. Stanevičiūtė), and Juozas Žilevičius and His Epoch (2023). She has published about 70 articles in Lithuania and abroad, delivered numerous presentations at local and international musicological conferences.

Dr. Brigita Tranavičiūtė

Dr. Brigita Tranavičiūtė

Dr. Brigita Tranavičiūtė is Researcher at the Institute of Architecture and Construction of Kaunas University of Technology. She is a co-author of more than ten books published by Lithuanian and internationally recognised publishers. She has published several articles, more than half in high-level journals referenced in CA WoS and SCOPUS databases with a citation index. Currently, Tranavičiūtė has been studying the 20th-century urban and urban history and analyses the issues of urbanization, economics, consumption, societal and cultural development.

Arvydas Pakštalis

Arvydas Pakštalis

Arvydas Pakštalis is Junior Researcher at the Lithuanian Emigration Institute of Vytautas Magnus University. He has published his research results in academic and popular science articles, has delivered his presentations in national and international conferences. He is a co-author of more than 10 books. Pakštalis participates in various scientific, cultural and artistic projects, and is coordinator and curator of various exhibitions. His scientific interests include cultural and social history of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Piret Noorhani

Piret Noorhani

Piret Noorhani was born in Tartu, Estonia. She studied Estonian language and literature at Tartu University (MA). In 1991-2007, she worked at the Estonian Literary Museum as a researcher, archivist and the head of the Estonian Cultural History Archives. In 2007-2009, she worked at the Estonian National Museum as a project manager of the Estonian diaspora. Noorhani is a founding member and the first president of the Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council, also a founding member and the president of the Baltic Heritage Network. Since 2009, she has been working in Toronto as a Chief Archivist at VEMU Estonian Museum Canada. She has authored books and articles on the history of Estonian literature and culture, including Estonian diaspora. Noorhani is a founder and the Festival Director of Estonian Music Week in Toronto.

Dr. Maarja Merivoo-Parro

Dr. Maarja Merivoo-Parro

Maarja Merivoo-Parro, PhD is a historian and Marie Curie scholar at the University of Jyväskylä as well as a longtime board member of the Baltic Heritage Network. She is also a media personality with years of experience creating and hosting TV and radio programs. She has recently received national recognition for her coverage on science and research topics from the Estonian Research Council. Maarja has also curated many museum exhibitions. Recently, her first textbook for schoolkids was published. 2024 marks fifteen years from the beginning of the BaltHerNet diaspora researchers’ seminars, which she has put her heart into and will officially pass over to the next leader this year.

Helga Merits

Helga Merits

Helga Merits is Dutch-Estonian. After studying philosophy in Amsterdam and a career in journalism in both Holland and Belgium, twenty years ago, Helga began making historical documentary films. Her first film was about the youth of her Estonian father. She made films about the stories of Baltic refugees, as well as about the memories of a Jewish, Polish and British man. She has just finished her sixth film, The Paradox of Seabrook Farms.

Dr. Daiva Litvinskaitė

Dr. Daiva Litvinskaitė

Daiva Litvinskaitė, PhD is Assistant Lecturer at Vilnius University, where she teaches Lithuanian language and literature. Since 2014, she has been an Associate Editor of Lituanus journal published in the US.

Dr. Lara Lempertienė

Dr. Lara Lempertienė

Lara Lempert, PhD is Head of the Judaica Research Center at the Documentary Heritage Department of the National Library of Lithuania and curator of the Library’s Judaica collection. Her fields of expertise are Jewish classical texts and the cultural history of the European and Lithuanian Jewry. She is the author of numerous articles and editor of several books, curator of exhibitions, participant and organizer of Lithuanian and international cultural and academic events dedicated to Jewish culture.

Dr. Regina Laukaitytė

Dr. Regina Laukaitytė

Regina Laukaitytė, PhD is Senior Researcher at the Lithuanian Institute of History. Her research interests include the history of Lithuanian churches in the 20th century and the history of Lithuania during Stalinism. Her most recent publication is Pokaris Lietuvoje belaukiant išlaisvinimo [Postwar Lithuania: Waiting for Liberation] (Vilnius: Lietuvos istorijos institutas, 2022).

Kristina Lapienytė

Kristina Lapienytė

Kristina Lapienytė is President of the Lithuanian Research & Studies Center, which has sites in Lemont, IL and Chicago, IL. She oversees collection, cataloguing and digitizing of Lithuanian heritage materials at the Center. Her focus is to make archival materials available for public research. She has presented diaspora memory institutions in conferences in Lithuania and in Chicago.

Lapienytė has a MA degree in Linguistics from Vilnius Pedagogical University and BSN from Purdue University. She worked as a Lithuanian language and literature teacher in Vilnius, teaching Lithuanian as a second language. She continued teaching in Chicago, at Chicago Cultural School (Lith. Čikagos Lituanistinė mokykla). In 2005, Kristina published Juozo Masilionio gyvenimas ir veikla, based on her MA thesis.

Dr. Jolanta Kuznecovienė

Dr. Jolanta Kuznecovienė

Jolanta Kuznecovienė is Professor of Sociology at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (Kaunas, Lithuania). She researches migration, transnationalism and national identity construction of Lithuanian diaspora. Her resent research and publications have been focused on Lithuanian diaspora second generation ethnic identity. Kuznecovienė has coordinated and taken part in a number of international and national research projects. She has also widely published her research findings in internationally acclaimed academic journals and edited volumes.

Assoc. Prof. Žydronė Kolevinskienė

Assoc. Prof. Žydronė Kolevinskienė

Žydronė Kolevinskienė, PhD is Associate Professor in Lithuanian Literature and Diaspora Studies at Vytautas Magnus University and vice-director of the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore. Her research areas include narrative analysis, contemporary Lithuanian writing, women’s writing, Lithuanian diaspora literature, comparative literary studies and feminist criticism. She has published widely on contemporary Lithuanian women’s writing in Lithuanian and international academic journals. She supervises BA and MA thesis in Lithuanian Philology. Her monograph Their Own Voices (2023) focuses on women‘s writing and the literary canon in Lithuanian diaspora in 1950-1990. Her latest work is the monograph Lithuanian Writers’ Association in the US, 1950-1990: Collective Biography (2024).

Birgit Kibal

Birgit Kibal

Birgit Kibal has graduated from the University of Tartu in history in 1999. Since then, she has been working as archivist at the National Archives of Estonia. From 2004, she has been serving as higher official (head of communication), currently, holding a position of head of foreign affairs. She has maintained close relationship with the colleagues in the field of archival education in Estonia, and for over a decade, she has been giving lectures at the Department of Archival Studies of the Institute of History and Archaeology at the University of Tartu. Birgit is a member of the board of the Baltic Heritage Network (from 2008), and a president of ICARUS, the International Centre for Archival Research (from 2023).

Andris Ķesteris

Andris Ķesteris

Following graduation from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) in Montréal, Andris Ķesteris attended the London Film School, England. Upon returning to Canada, he worked as a freelance scriptwriter in the National Film Board of Canada’s Multiculturalism Programme. He soon joined the newly-created National Film Archive of the Public Archives of Canada. He also worked in cable television. Over the years, he has written, produced and directed documentaries such as the „Sixth Latvian Song Festival and Latvian Days in Canada 1976“, „The Latvians – Against All Odds“ (1990), and co-produced the 2013 film, “Outside the Sphere.

Maarja Hollo

Maarja Hollo

Maarja Hollo, PhD is Senior Researcher at the Estonian Literary Museum. She has published articles on trauma and memory in the work of Estonian exile writers as well as on mediating traumatic experiences in autobiographical narratives. The focus of her current research is on the letters of ordinary people.

Dr. Dainius Genys

Dr. Dainius Genys

Sociologist Dainius Genys is Senior Researcher at Andrei Sakharov Research Center for Democratic Development and Educational Research Institute at Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania). His research interests, among others, include democratization processes and civic education research as well as higher education discourse analysis.

Prof. Vytis Ciubrinskas

Prof. Vytis Ciubrinskas

Vytis Ciubrinskas is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania) and visiting Associate Professor at the School of Anthropology, Political Science and Sociology, Southern Illinois University (USA). Since 1990, he has been teaching at Vilnius University and has had visiting scholar positions at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle, Germany), Collegium of Advanced Studies (University of Helsinki), Institute of Advanced Study (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi), Minzu University of China and at the University of Copenhagen, University of Lund, University of Oslo. His visiting teaching positions include School of Slavonic and East European Studies (University College London); University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and from 2010, Southern Illinois University. 

Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė

Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė

Dalia Cidzikaitė. PhD is Chief Researcher at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. She holds a PhD in Humanities from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2007-2013, she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Chicago-based newspaper Draugas. In 2014, together with the co-authors, Dalia Stake Anysiene and Laima Petrauskaite VanderStoep, she published an oral history book, We Thought We’d Be Back Soon. 18 Conversations about the Flight to the West 1940-1944. In 2017, the book came out in English.

Regina Butkus

Regina Butkus

Regina Butkus is a member of Lithuanian-American Community from 2018. She serves as a Vice President for archives. As the vice president, she takes care of the archives financial support and sources the expatriate archives employees and volunteers. Regina has belonged to the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union Abroad since 1997. She is currently the Commander of National Guard of Lithuania Naval Division Unit “Baltija” in her third term. Also, Butkus takes care of the preservation and transfer of National Guard’s of Lithuania Abroad archives to the Lithuanian Research Center. She is the President of Lithuanian Children’s Health Fund (established by Julius R. Butkus 1990), since 2000. Since its establishment, this foundation has taken care of the Panevėžiukas Children’s Home. Currently, the Fund provides funds for the art studio of the Vilkaviškis Children and Youth Center, headed by Stasė Zelinauskaitė.

Regina Butkus graduated from the former Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (Lithuania) and obtained a BA in precision mechanics. After coming to the USA (1992), she studied at Illinois Institute of Technology and obtained a MA (autocad). Currently (5 years), she works at Ralph Lauren Company as a Department manager. Before, she worked at the Marshall Field’s company (1994-2005) and at the Neiman Marcus company (2005-2019).

Dr. Jolanta Budriūnienė

Dr. Jolanta Budriūnienė

Jolanta Budriūnienė, PhD is Director of the Documentary Heritage Research Department of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. She is the author and editor of handbooks, collections of articles, academic publications, and popular articles. She has participated in many international conferences. Budriūnienė has been managing and implementing many national and international projects.

She has had research internships at the Institute of Lithuanian Culture in Germany (2013) and the Lithuanian Research and Studies in Chicago (2017). She has served as an expert at the Lithuanian Culture Council (2014-2016), on the BaltHerNet board (since 2012), and the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (since 2017). In 2021, she defended her PhD thesis on the topic of “Communication Strategies in the English-Language Cultural Lithuanian American Press (1950-1990).”

Her main areas of interest include cultural heritage protection and research, cultural studies of Lithuanian diaspora.

Sigita Balzekas

Sigita Balzekas

Sigita Bersenas-Balzekas was the initiator and Lithuanian co-chair of the “No Home to Go to” exhibition committee. She currently serves as the Balzekas Museum’s board president and interim executive director. Growing up in Canada and attending school across from the “Tartu” building on the University of Toronto campus, Bersenas-Balzekas worked closely with Toronto’s Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian youth in planning anti-Soviet and pro-human rights demonstrations and activities. In the mid-nineteen eighties, as the president of the Canadian Lithuanian Youth Association, she helped organize and participated in the “Baltic Peace and Freedom Cruise,” a protest in the Baltic Sea. She remains a strong proponent of continued Baltic collaboration.

Irena Brokas Chambers is the curator of the “No Home to Go to” exhibition, herself a displaced person, and the former curator of collections at the Library of Congress.

Dr. Egidijus Balandis

Dr. Egidijus Balandis

Egidijus Balandis, PhD is Junior Research Fellow at the VMU Lithuanian Emigration Institute. He is also a lecturer at the Vytautas Magnus University, where he teaches the history of Lithuanian diaspora. In 2019, he defended his PhD thesis “Sport in the Social Fabric of U.S. Lithuanians in the First Half of the 20th Century.” Currently, he has been working on a book that would extend the geographical and the chronological scope of this work. His research interests include history of Lithuanian diaspora, history of civil society and a social and cultural history of sports.

Organizing Committee

Valda Budreckaitė (Lithuania)

Jolanta Budriūnienė (Lithuania)

Dalia Cidzikaitė (Lithuania)

Ilona Strumickienė (Lithuania)

Birgit Kibal (Estonia)

Karin Kiisk (Estonia)

Piret Noorhani (Canada, Estonia)

Maarja Merivoo-Parro (Estonia)

Inese Kalniṇa (Latvia)

Kristina Lapienytė (USA)