World Lithuanian Youth Meets at 17th Congress


The 17th Lithuanian World Youth Congress was held from June 14-22 in USA and Canada, with participants from 18 countries (Pasaulio lietuvių jaunimo XVII kongresas -PLJK). Events began in Boston, Massachussetts, with a program at Neringa Youth Camp in Vermont, and closing ceremonies in Montreal, Quebec.

The agenda consisted of an introductory meeting of delegates, with part of the program dedicated to the history of Lithuanians in Boston, one of the first American cities where Lithuanians settled in the early 19th century. Delegates also enjoyed seeing a Red Sox game at the famous Fenway Park. The session continued at the Lithuanian Youth Camp Neringa in Vermont, with formal reports, discussions and board elections. It was also decided that the venue for the next Congress will be Iceland.

Delegates were then bussed to Montreal, Quebec, for closing events with excursions in the city and a concert and social evening with Montreal Lithuanians. Montreal is home to the oldest Lithuanian Community in Canada: over 120 years. A Mass was held at Our Lady Gates of Dawn Parish in memory of Monsignor Edmund Putrimas, who dedicated his life to Lithuanian youth.

A guest at the Congress was Rev. Antanas Saulaitis, SJ, who was the first World Lithuanian Youth Association president in 1972. Other guests included Lithuanian Ambassador to USA Audra Plepytė, Lithuanian Ambassador to Canada Darius Skusevičius, former Assocation president Dalia Henke, American Lithuanian Community president Arvydas Urbonavičius, Lithuanian Canadian Community president Kazimieras Deksnys, Montreal Community president Daiva Jaugelis-Zatkovic and other Lithuanian organization representatives.

The newly elected World Youth Association board consists of: President – Agita Beržanskaitė (Netherlands), Secretary – Elena Urbonaitė (Sweden), Treasurer – Simonas Bingelis (USA), members – Ingrida Vaznelytė (Poland), Ale Brom Švobas (Uruguay), Gabriela Avalos Liesinskas (Venezuela /Lithuania), Antanas Paukshtis (Russia/Lithuania). Congratulations to the new Board, and best wishes for success in its work of implementing the theme of the Congress “Visur ir visada” (“Everywhere and Always”) – nurturing Lithuanian spirit in our youth.