History was cruel to us, banishing us from our home and spreading us around the world. War caused some people to flee the country in search of asylum in Germany, the UK, the USA, Australia or Canada, or even as far as South America. Others were forced from their homes, with the Soviets exiling Lithuanians to the vast expanses of Siberia in trains and animal wagons.
Today, we can travel the world without hindrance by boundaries. We are full of the joy of discovery, and we carve out careers in NASA laboratories, on the global stages of theatre and music, and in the skyscrapers of businesses. An estimated 1.3 million people of Lithuanian descent live abroad, most of whom share their feelings of nostalgia in Lithuanian communities – which amount to more than 40 around the world. It is in these communities that the Lithuanian language and traditions are fostered, with their members participating in sports competitions and song and dance festivals of the world’s Lithuanians. No matter where they live or what they are doing, the roots of Lithuanians are here. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to hug each other no matter where you are in the world – because our Lithuania is where we meet.