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Valdas Adamkus


In office
12 July 2004 – 12 July 2009
Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas
Zigmantas Balčytis (Acting)
Gediminas Kirkilas
Andrius Kubilius
Preceded by Artūras Paulauskas (Acting)
Succeeded by Dalia Grybauskaitė
In office
26 February 1998 – 26 February 2003
Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius
Irena Degutienė (Acting)
Rolandas Paksas
Irena Degutienė (Acting)
Andrius Kubilius
Rolandas Paksas
Eugenijus Gentvilas (Acting)
Algirdas Brazauskas
Preceded by Algirdas Brazauskas
Succeeded by Rolandas Paksas

Born 3 November 1926 (1926-11-03) (age 83)
Kaunas, Lithuania
Political party Independent[1]
Spouse(s) Alma Adamkienė
Religion Roman Catholic
Signature
President Adamkus meeting with Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney in Lithuania. The meeting took place during the Vilnius Conference 2006: Common Visions for Common Neighborhoods.
Adamkus shaking hands with George W. Bush in the Presidential Palace in Vilnius. In the background is a copy of a famous sculpture by Juozas Zikaras, the Statue of Liberty.
Mikheil Saak’ashvili, Lech Kaczyński and Valdas Adamkus in Tbilisi, November 2007.

Valdas Adamkus About this sound pronunciation pronounced [ˈvaːldas aˈdɐmkʊs] (born Voldemaras Adamkavičius on November 3, 1926) is a former President of the Republic of Lithuania. He served for two terms as President of Lithuania, although they were not served consecutively. In Lithuania, the President's tenure lasts for five years; Adamkus' first term in office began on February 26, 1998 and ended on February 28, 2003, following his defeat by Rolandas Paksas in the next presidential election. Paksas was later impeached and removed from office by a parliamentary vote on April 6, 2004. Soon afterwards, when a new election was announced, Adamkus again ran for president and was re-elected. Adamkus has one of the highest approval rates among politicians in Lithuania[2] and is regarded as a moral authority in the state.[3] He chose not to run for re-election during the Lithuanian presidential election in 2009 and was succeeded on 12 July 2009 by Dalia Grybauskaitė.

He is married to Alma Adamkienė, who is involved in charitable activities in Lithuania.

Contents

Biography

Adamkus was born into a Roman Catholic family in Kaunas. His father was one of the first heads of the Lithuanian Air Force School in the Republic of Lithuania. As a young man Adamkus joined the underground against the first Soviet occupation of 1940. During World War II, his family fled Lithuania in order to avoid the second Soviet occupation in 1944. He attended the University of Munich in Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1949. Fluent in five languages - Lithuanian, Polish, English, Russian and German - he served as a senior non-commissioned officer with the 5th Army Reserve's military intelligence unit in the 1950s.

After arriving in Chicago, Illinois, as a displaced person, he had to take on menial jobs, and worked in an automobile factory, but later as a draftsman. Adamkus graduated as a civil engineer from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1960. While a student, Adamkus, together with other Lithuanian Americans, collected about 40,000 signatures and petitioned the United States Government to intervene in the ongoing deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia which were being conducted by the Soviets.[4] The petition was presented to then-Vice President Richard Nixon. Adamkus also raised concerns about other Soviet activities in occupied Lithuania with United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld in 1958, and with President John F. Kennedy in 1962.[4]

Career in the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Adamkus joined the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its inception in 1970 and was appointed regional administrator by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Prior to that he worked for the EPA in Cincinnati. He was responsible for all air, water, hazardous waste, and other pollution control programs in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In 1985, President Reagan presented him with the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award – the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civil servant.

Adamkus managed to visit Lithuania for the first time in almost thirty years in 1972. He was a member of the official delegation from the United States attending an environmental conference in Moscow. While perestroika was evolving in the Soviet Union, his visits to his homeland became more frequent. Valdas Adamkus served as regional administrator of the EPA for sixteen years, and retired in 1997, after twenty-nine years of service. Upon his retirement, he received a congratulatory letter from President Clinton and a Distinguished Career Award from EPA Administrator Carol Browner. EPA Region 5 presented him with the newly established "Valdas V. Adamkus Sustained Commitment to the Environment Honor Award". While serving in the U.S. government, Adamkus was active in the Republican Party, but was also respected by members of the Democratic Party for his personal and professional integrity.

Lithuanian presidency, 1998 – 2003

Shortly after leaving the EPA, Valdas Adamkus moved back to Lithuania. Soon after his decision to run for presidency in 1998, he faced a legal battle in the Lithuanian courts, as doubts arose whether Adamkus was eligible to run for presidency due to the length of time he had spent abroad and the possibility that he might not meet minimum residency requirements. However, the court resolved the case in Adamkus' favor and no other obstacles remained other than his U.S. citizenship, which he officially renounced at the American Embassy in Vilnius. He was elected as President of Lithuania in 1998, defeating Artūras Paulauskas in the runoff, serving from then until 2003, when he ran for re-election, but was unexpectedly defeated by populistic Rolandas Paksas. He returned to politics as surprisingly as he had left, after the presidential scandal of 2003/2004, when his former rival Paksas became the first European head of state to be impeached and removed from office. Adamkus ran for the presidency again and was re-elected.

The first round of the 2004 election was held on June 13, 2004, with Adamkus securing 30% of the vote - more than any other candidate. Paksas could not run for office again, because a ruling from Lithuania's Constitutional Court disallowed him from running for public office and he was, therefore, unable to register as a candidate. A runoff election was held on June 27, 2004, which Adamkus won with about 52% of the votes against Kazimira Prunskienė. Since his inauguration on July 12, 2004, he has again been serving as the President of the Republic of Lithuania.

In 2003 Valdas Adamkus was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Construction of Knowledge Societies. The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, noted that Valdas Adamkus was named as Ambassador "in recognition of his dedication to the Organization's aims and ideals and with a view to benefiting for the construction of knowledge societies from his wisdom and extensive experience in many of UNESCO's areas of concern, in particular promotion of social development, cultural diversity, dialogue and international cooperation."[5]

Lithuanian presidency, 2004 – 2009

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Foreign affairs

Under the presidency of Valdas Adamkus, Lithuania actively promoted democracy in the formerly Soviet Eastern European and Asian nations. President Adamkus, together with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Javier Solana, Boris Gryzlov and Ján Kubiš, served as a mediator during Ukraine's political crisis, when two candidates in the 2004 presidential election, Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko, each claimed victory. President Adamkus recalled in an interview that "when I asked what we could do to help, Kuchma said the friends of the Ukrainian people should drop whatever they were doing and come to Kiev immediately."[6]. The next day international mediators met in Ukraine. The crisis was resolved after a new election was held.

Valdas Adamkus and his Estonian counterpart Arnold Rüütel rejected an invitation to participate in a commemorative celebration of the end of World War II in Europe in 2005. President Adamkus expressed the view that the war's end, in Lithuania, marked the beginning of a fifty-year Soviet occupation and repression. In response, on July 22, the United States Congress unanimously passed a resolution that Russia should "issue a clear and unambiguous statement of admission and condemnation of the illegal occupation and annexation by the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991 of the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania",[7], but Russia refused.

President Adamkus supported an active dialogue between European Union member states and those former Soviet republics such as Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova, that are actively seeking membership in the EU. He expressed support for these candidate members during the Community of Democratic Choice in 2005, at the Vilnius Conference 2006, and on several other occasions.

Valdas Adamus is a member of the Club of Madrid[8]. He is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation as well.

Domestic affairs

Valdas Adamkus enjoys a very high approval rating in Lithuania. He was also recognized for the second time for his support of Lithuanian youth. President Adamkus was actively involved in government reorganizations in 2004 and 2006. In his 2006 State of the Nation address,[9] Adamkus stated that his top priorities were:

  • Increasing public participation in the political realm
  • Targeted and transparent use of the EU funds and opportunities for building a greater well-being in Lithuania
  • Reforms in public governance, education and science, social support and health care
  • The development of professional competence among civil servants, especially in assessing regulatory impacts
  • Approval of a political code of ethics
  • Direct mayoral elections, and elimination of the county system
  • Construction of a new nuclear power unit in Ignalina
  • Legislation regulating the selection, appointment and promotion of judges
  • Controlling "brain drain" by supporting research and higher education infrastructure

Awards

Valdas Adamkus has been honored with the following decorations:

Year Award Issuer
1985 President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service
1998 The Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon Iceland
1998 The Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav Norway
1998 The First Class of the Order of Yaroslav the Wise Ukraine
1999 The Collar and the Grand Cross of the Order of Mary's Land Estonia
1999 The Grand Cross of the Order of the Saviour Greece
1999 The Class Collar and the Grand Cross of the Order for the Services Italy
1999 The Order of the White Eagle Poland
1999 The Grand Cross of the Order for the Services Malta
1999 The Grand Cross of the Order for the Services Hungary
2000 The Grand Cross of the Order of Friendship Kazakhstan
2001 The Collar and the Grand Cross of the Order of Three Stars Latvia
2001 The Grand Cross of the Order of the French Legion of Honour France
2001 The Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania Romania
2002 The Order of St. Meshrop Mashtots Armenia
2002 The Collar and the Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose Finland
2002 The Order For Special Merits Uzbekistan
2002 St Andrew 'Dialogue of Civilisation' prize laureate Russia
2003 The Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain Lithuania
2004 The golden collar and the Grand Cross of the Order of the White Star Estonia
2005 The Order of Isabel the Catholic with the collar Kingdom of Spain
2005 The Special Class of the Grand Cross of the Order for the Services Germany
2006 The Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold (Belgium) Kingdom of Belgium
2006 The Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath United Kingdom
2006 The First Class of the Order for Merits to Ukraine Ukraine
2007 The Order "Mother Theresa" Albania
2007 The Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum Japan
2007 The St. George's Victory Order Georgia
2007 European of the Year
2008 The Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands
2008 Collar of the Order of the Merit of Chile Republic of Chile
2009 Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria Austria
2009 Order of Stara Planina Bulgaria

Honorary doctorates

Valdas Adamkus holds honorary doctorates at universities in Lithuania, the United States and other countries, including:

References

  1. ^ The European Union: Annual Review 2002/2003. Blackwell Publishing. 2003. http://books.google.com/books?id=OqQzsV4NZdIC&pg=PA171&dq=adamkus+independent&lr=&sig=ACfU3U0JJ7phVu7AzUFALyb6cSee69PNow.  
  2. ^ V. Adamkus išlieka populiariausiu Lietuvos politiku (Adamkus Remains the Most Popular Politician in Lithuania), Baltic News Service (BNS), 22 July 2006, Delfi.lt. Accessed 7 September 2006.
  3. ^ Leonidas Donskis, Užsikimšusios politinės lyderystės arterijos (Clogged Arteries of Political Leadership), Klaipėda, 24 April 2006, Delfi.lt. Accessed 7 September 2006.
  4. ^ a b Simas Sužiedėlis, ed (1970-1978). "Valdas Adamkus". Encyclopedia Lituanica. I. Boston, Massachusetts: Juozas Kapočius. pp. 16. LCC 74-114275.  
  5. ^ Roni Amelan, Valdas Adamkus to be named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Knowledge Societies, Bureau of Public Information, UNESCO. Accessed 7 September 2006.
  6. ^ Steven Paulikas, A House Divided, Newsweek, 24 January 2006. Accessed 7 September 2006.
  7. ^ http://jbanc.org/hres128.html Russia should admit occupation
  8. ^ (English) The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its Members – 66 democratic former heads of state and government.
  9. ^ Valdas Adamkus, State of the Nation 2006 (PDF), Office of the President of Lithuania. Accessed 7 September 2006.

See also

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Algirdas Brazauskas
President of Lithuania
1998 – 2003
Succeeded by
Rolandas Paksas
Preceded by
Artūras Paulauskas
Acting
President of Lithuania
2004 – 2009
Succeeded by
Dalia Grybauskaitė

Simple English

Valdas Adamkus
File:Valdas Adamkus.


President of Lithuania
Incumbent
Assumed office 
12 July 2004
Preceded by Artūras Paulauskas
In office
26 February 1998 – 26 February 2003
Preceded by Algirdas Brazauskas
Succeeded by Rolandas Paksas

Born 3 November 1926 (1926-11-03) (age 84)
Kaunas, Lithuania
Political party none
Spouse Alma Adamkienė
Religion Roman Catholic

Valdas Adamkus was born on November 3, 1926 in Kaunas, Lithuania. His birth name was Valdemaras Adamkavičius. He is the current President of the Republic of Lithuania. First elected in 1998, he ended his term in office in 2003. When Rolandas Paksas, the new elected president, was impeached and removed by the Lithuanian Parliament in 2004, Adamkus was re-elected. He has been the President since 2004 and his term in office shall end in 2009.


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