Gintė Damušis Honoured by Lithuania

Ambassador Receives Global Lithuania Award for Lifetime Achievement
On December 29, 2021, Gintė Damušis, former Lithuanian ambassador to Canada (2008-2012) was honoured at the Global Lithuanian Awards ceremony held at St. Catherine’s Church in Vilnius. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Arnoldas Pranckevičius announced her the 2021 winner of the Global Lithuanian Lifetime Achievement Award. Gintė Bernadeta Damušis, a Lithuanian American, public activist and diplomat, Lithuanian Ambassador, was honoured for devoting a lifetime to promoting Lithuanian heritage, for her consistent work and dedication to restoring Lithuania’s independence and helping build the free nation.

Upon completing her studies, American-born Gintė Damušis contributed to the work of Lithuanian Catholic Religious Aid in New York, an organization supporting the persecuted church, dissidents and human rights defenders, translating and distributing the Chronicle of the Lithuanian Catholic Church and other underground publications in English, and maintaining contact with Lithuanian independence fighters.

After Lithuania regained its independence, Gintė Damušis continued to work for Lithuania, contributing to the establishment of the Lithuanian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, USA, and officially joined the Lithuanian diplomatic service in 1992. While working in Lithuanian missions in international organizations and leading Lithuanian embassies in Austria, Canada, Denmark and Iceland Ms Damušis actively contributed to the development of political, economic and humanitarian multilateral and bilateral relations, and headed the Global Lithuania Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Her impressive CV on the NATO website includes details of her career: Ambassador Ginte Damušis was the Head of Mission of the Republic of Lithuania to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, appointed by President V. Adamkus. She assumed her post in Brussels on 29 January 2001. When the North Atlantic Council was opened up to new allies from Eastern Europe in June 2003, she became the first female ambassador to take a seat on the Council since NATO was founded in 1949. Prior to her that assignment, Ambassador Damušis was Lithuanian Ambassador to Austria from October 1998 until January 2001. She was also accredited to represent Lithuanian interests in Slovenia (April 1999-January 2001), Slovakia (July 1999-January 2001) and Croatia (April 2000-January 2001). From 1996 to 1999, Ambassador Damušis was Head of the Lithuanian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Permanent Representative to the Conventional Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna. Upon joining the Diplomatic Service in 1992, Ms. Damušis helped to establish the Lithuanian Mission to the United Nations, where she first served as Counsellor (1992-1996). Prior to the admission of Lithuania into the United Nations, she was Director of the Lithuanian Information Center in New York (1979-1991) and a guest lecturer on human rights and democracy-building. She has also been active as a freelance journalist and translator. Ambassador Damušis has served on the advisory boards of the U.S.-Baltic Foundation (Washington) and relief organization Lithuanian Catholic Religious Aid (New York). She has also contributed to a number of publications on foreign policy and security matters.

On presenting the Global Lithuania award, Deputy Minister Pranckevičius noted that
“This award is a modest expression of our deep respect and sincere gratitude for a life devoted to Lithuania: for dedication, courage, faith in the freedom of Lithuania, for the decision to return to the land of her parents and create a modern independent Lithuania here”.

The Global Lithuanian Awards, established in 2012, are intended to honour non-native Lithuanians who have accumulated international professional experience, maintained close ties with Lithuania and made a major contribution to its growth.

The Patron of the Awards is President Gitanas Nausėda. The Awards are organized by Global Lithuanian Leaders in cooperation with the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The main sponsor of the Global Lithuanian Awards – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – has been granted the honour of presenting the annual Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lithuanian Canadians congratulate Gintė Damušis on her achievements and fondly remember the understanding and knowledge she shared with our Community during her tenure as Ambassador. She sent us her gracious words of thanks on receiving the award:

“I am delighted and touched by the Global Lithuania Lifetime Achievement Award acknowledging my lifelong work on behalf of Lithuania. It has been my pleasure and privilege to defend Lithuanian interests for the past 45 years or so, both as a NGO activist and later as a diplomat. I thank my esteemed colleagues at the Foreign Ministry of Lithuania and Global Lithuanian Leaders for this recognition. I feel honoured to have met so many fantastic people along the way all across the globe, who share the common goal and vision of creating a better, safer and more prosperous Lithuania!”