In Ottawa, on March 1O, Lithuanian Ambassador to Canada Darius Skusevičius awarded the Lithuanian Diplomatic Star to Ambassador Robert Keith Rae, Canada’s permanent representative at the United Nations, on behalf of the Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Ambassador Skusevičius noted that “As we commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian independence, we remember the assistance we have received from many Canadians in building a modern Lithuanian nation. I am particularly happy to have this opportunity to thank Ambassador Rae personally today, for his past work and his on-going resolve in defending democratic values at the UN”.
The Star was awarded to Ambassador Rae for his personal efforts in strengthening ties between Canada and Lithuania. In February, 1990, Bob Rae went to Lithuania with a delegation of Ontario parlamentarians to observe the first free election to the Supreme Council, and actively supported the idea of Lithuanian independence in the Canadian press. Later, as Premier of Ontario, Mr. Rae delegated many Canadians to the professional exchange programs for the Baltic reform process. In 2009, Mr. Rae initiated a resolution unanimously approved in Canada’s parliament to confirm August 23rd as a national day of commemoration in Canada to honour the victims of Soviet and Nazi repression. Canada was the first country outside of Europe to recognize the significance of the date the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed.
At the award ceremony, Mr. Rae received a collection of photos and articles from the weekly “Tėviškės žiburiai” as a memento of many years of sincere friendship and cooperation with the Lithuanian Community of Canada.
The Lithuanian Diplomatic Star is an award established in 2010 by Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for promoting Lithuania in the diaspora and its ties with other countries.
From the archives of “Tėviskės žiburiai”: 1990, the restoration of Lithuanian independence – Bob Rae meeting with V. Landsbergis and Lithuanian Community representatives; Canadian government officials in Lithuania.