This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Lithuanian Charter, which established the Lithuanian World Community. The Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania declared this year the Year of World Lithuanians.
The resolution passed by the Lithuanian Parliament states that the activities of the Lithuanian World Community, Inc. in preserving Lithuanian history, language, culture, science, heritage, traditions, and national identity abroad have contributed to the creation of a modern Lithuanian state. The document also emphasizes Community’s contribution to the restoration of an independent state of Lithuania and its integration into the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO and the European Union.
Stasys Tumėnas, the member of the Lithuanian Parliament and the initiator of the proposal, noted that the declaration obligates Lithuanian government to create conditions and opportunities for Lithuanians to maintain contacts with Lithuanians and Lithuanian communities abroad; to maintain historical consciousness and expand historical knowledge about Lithuanian diaspora; to promote reflection and dissemination of national identity; to support Lithuanian education and Lithuanian culture abroad; to promote initiatives preserving cultural heritage and its contemporary interpretation abroad; and to mobilize Lithuanian diaspora in becoming more active player in Lithuania’s statehood and its democratic processes.
According to the latest data, approximately 1.3 million Lithuanians or people of Lithuanian origin currently live outside Lithuania.