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On September 17, more than 30 Balts representing 11 different Baltic-American organizations came together to discuss possible areas for cooperation towards common goals. The “Baltics ReUnited (?)” conference was organized by the Global Lithuanian Leaders, a group of Lithuanian professionals;  the Joint Baltic American National Committee, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this year, and the Lithuanian Student Association of North America. The event was hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania.

Edvinas Minkstimas, the moderator and a representative of the GLL, welcomed guests gathered and invited the representatives of Baltic organizations to introduce themselves, their organizations’ history, and current projects and goals.

Following the organizational introductions, a discussion followed to highlight common problems, goals and ideas. A universal theme emerged as participants voiced their opinions that Balts in the U.S. have much in common, but that the essential element for cooperation is cross-organizational and cross-generational dialogue.

The discussion eventually focused on political activism, which has significantly decreased after the reestablishment of Baltic independence. Freedom is sometimes more difficult to maintain than to fight for, a fact evidenced by a perceivable lack of interest in politics among younger Baltic-Americans and older generations that graduated from political activism after the 1990’s.

It was agreed that in order to improve communication between different groups, Baltic Americans must utilize modern technological tools. Suggestions to create a Baltic App, adopt-a-media campaign, or to write relevant political blogs to inform and educate the Baltic-American population might be possible projects to pursue.

Technology could also help facilitate sharing of information about Baltic-American organizations by establishing an all encompassing online database.

Ultimately, the conference identified the common goal of promoting a more cohesive Baltic image in the United States. To accomplish this, Baltic-Americans must continue a regular dialogue and cooperation that reaches multiple generations.

Thus, involvement of young Baltic-Americans in the active Baltic image formation is key to a successful campaign. Current Baltic-American leaders need to acknowledge that younger generations have interests that are much different from theirs. While young people might understand that politics are important, not everything is about politics. A common, cross-generational platform needs to be found to ensure the longevity of the Baltic image effort.

As the “Baltics ReUnited (?)” conference drew to a close, a proposal was made to make the conference a regular, perhaps yearly, event. Such a move would significantly increase Baltic capabilities to act much more effectively with an expanded scope.