In memoriam Romualdas J. Misiunas (1945-2021)

November 3, 2021

Lithuania lost an active figure of Lithuanian diaspora, historian and diplomat, Romualdas J. Misiūnas.

Misiūnas was born in 1945, in Sweden, to the family of Lithuanian immigrants. He spent much of his life in the United States of America. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University (Chicago), a master’s and doctoral degree from Yale University. He dedicated his life to the academic world. He studied in Europe, taught at various US universities.

Another important part of his career was diplomacy. In 1996- 2001, Misiūnas was the Lithuanian Ambassador to Israel; he was also accredited to the Republic of South Africa, being the only Lithuanian diplomatic representative in the region at that time, contributing significantly to the development of Lithuania’s bilateral relations with Israel and other Middle Eastern countries.

Misiūnas was the author of many books and articles. The book The Baltic States: Years of Dependence, 1940-1980, which Misiūnas wrote during the Cold War together with his Estonian colleague, Rein Taagepera, is notable. The book was published in 1983, in both the United States and Europe. Its appended version was published a few years later. The book was also translated into Lithuanian. In 1984-1989, Misiūnas served as the chair of the editorial board of the Baltic Forum journal.

Misiūnas’ name was well known among the researchers of the National Library of Lithuania. In 2013, he took part in the Vilnius Book Fair, at the presentation of the publication Tomas Venclova: bibliografijos rodyklė (1956-2011) [Tomas Venclova: Index of Bibliography (1956-2011)] prepared by the library.