“Balstocandia 2016″, first expedition of the trek across the world “Mission Lithuania”, is gaining momentum. Expedition crew from the Wanderers Club, Lithuanian Geographical Society, and Travel and Recreation Club of the Lithuanian Journalists’ Union have set out on the 30th of July from Lithuania and have already held three conferences in Gdańsk (Poland), Lübeck (Germany) and Copenhagen (Denmark). They are dedicated to presenting prof. Kazys Pakštas, idea of Baltoscandia, and the trek across the world “Mission Lithuania 100”.
After lighting a memorial candle by the Darius and Girėnas bas-relief in Poland, Szczecin, a couple of days ago expedition members met the Lübeck community, which looks after we well-being of local residents. “When the opportunity arose to have a discussion with such a strong local community in Lübeck, we couldn’t pass up the chance to meet such intelligent and active people.” – told expedition member Eglė Melnikė.
The Lithuanian Geographical Society-initiated meeting took place in the Lübeck oldtown. The community looking after the inhabitants was established in 1789 and has over 2000 members. Currently they have founded 20 art schools, choirs, and other institutions, 36 charity foundations, hold lectures by professionals from different areas eacg week, and support socially vulnerable groups.
Antje Peters-Hirt, head of Lübeck community is happy with the current arrangement: “In 1817 our community founded a bank, which currently gives 3 million euros each year to the city of Lübeck, and also supports us, therefore all of the services we provided to the residents are free.”
During the discussion Manfred Eickhölter , dr. of literature and cultural studies, said that Lithuanians and Germans face similar problems: “After the fall of Berlin wall East Germany residents, just as your own after the occupation, had to look for a new future, adapt, establish a new identity.”
Expedition leader Gintautas Babravičius agreed that both Germany and Lithuania need returning emmigrants, who bring back new ideas and winds of change: “We have to remember and respect our past, but currently we must focus on the present and the future: who we are, who we will be, who we want to become, and what we can do, to reach these goals.”
On the 4th of August the fourth expedition conference took place at the Copenhagen University. Talks were given by Søren Kristensen, secretary general of the Royal Danish Geographical Society, Gintautas Babravičius, leader of “Mission Lithuania 100”, Genovaitė Kynė, president of the Lithuanian Geographical Society, and Arūnas Blūdžius, head of the Academy of Baltoscandia.
“Baltoscandia 2016” participants will be moving to Sweden next, and the Norway, Finland, Estonia, and finally the neighbouring Latvia. There conferences and meeting with local Lithuanian communities will also be taking place.