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  • 16 May 2017

    Thanks to the initiative of the Polish Institute in Vilnius and in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Vilnius, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and Kaunas‘ Aleksotas district authorities, the inaugural event for the Year of Tadeusz Kościuszko was held in Kaunas. The event took place in the Kaunas Botanical Garden and was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, MFA, Lithuanian Seimas, authorities and residents of Kaunas.

    The event programme included a short lecture given by  Prof. Valdas Rakutis "General Tadeusz Kościuszko – the hero of the nations (Poles, Lithuanians and Americans) who loved freedom", a military display by groups in 18th and 19th century costumes  and the planting of a beech tree, dedicated to General Kościuszko.

    “Kościuszko unites Poles, Lithuanians and Belarusians, whose roads have been widened in the twenties, under one flag. He is our common hero. He identified himself as a Lithuanian, served in Poland and was born in Belarus"– Prof. Rakutis underlined during the inaugural event.

    "The tree dedicated to Kosciuszko will be planted here, at the Botanical Garden, next to the tree dedicated to Lech Kaczyński and the roses of Fryderyk Szopen. I would like to thank all the organizers and partners of these celebrations for giving us this opportunity. Today, Lithuania is a multinational country, where people of different nations get along very well,  and may this newly planted tree remind our future generations not only that we respect and strengthen this friendship, but that we also care about the past and the future"– said the Director of the Polish Institute in Vilnius Marcin Łapczyński.

    "I would like to emphasize that we respect Kościuszko not only because he fought for the freedom of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations, but also because he fought for the values that were enshrined in the Constitution of 3 May.

    It was the first Constitution in Europe that proclaimed the equality of all citizens of the state. It became the foundation of both countries, Lithuania and Poland, and the principles are still valid today," said Maria Ślebioda, Charge d’ Affaires, who also reminded those gathered that UNESCO has declared 2017 the Year of Kosciuszko.

    Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs V. Purlys emphasized that the ideas and legacy of Tadeusz Kościuszko are very important: "Only a free and civilized person could defend his country, while the liberal nations – Lithuanians, Poles, Americans – could defend their values and freedom only by acting together."

    "I am delighted to be invited to this remarkable event, commemorating a person who was so inspired by the idea of democracy and freedom; he had a very long journey to take part in the struggle for freedom. He was a fascinating personality," said the representative of the Embassy of the United States of America to Lithuania Heather Steil.

    Belarusian Ambassador to Lithuania Aleksander Korol stressed that Tadeusz Kosciuszko was born on the territory of modern-day Belarus and stated that he is probably the best known person from these lands in the world.

    "He proclaimed the highest values of every nation, freedom and independence. I hope that similar celebrations will take place shortly in Belarus, at the birthplace of Kościuszko"– the Ambassador said during the ceremony.

    On 30 May 2017, an evening dedicated to the memory of Tadeusz Kosciuszko will be held at the Balinskis’ Palace in Jasunai. The programme includes a lecture about Kościuszko given by famous Lithuanian historian Prof. Alfredas Bumblauskas and a unique concert "Kościuszko plays Kościuszko" performed by the  "Bokun/Kościuszko Duo" from Poland.

    The highlight of the evening will be the performance by artists of exceptional transcriptions of musical works by Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Entrance is free.

    In 2017 we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of a Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian, French and American hero – General Tadeusz Kościuszko. The Polish Sejm has declared 2017 as the year of Tadeusz Kościuszko. A similar resolution was also adopted by the Lithuanian Seimas in April 2017. This anniversary is celebrated under the patronage of UNESCO.

     


     

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