• June 2, 2015
  • 104

The Director of the Department of National Minorities might be from Sejny

The Lithuanian consul in Sejny Vida Montvydaitė is a nominee for the post of the Director of the Department of National Minorities. The Department commences its duties on 1 July 2015. The Ministry of Culture’s duties regarding the protection of national minorities will be taken over by the Department.

In November 2014 The Strategic Committee of the Republic of Lithuania decided that from the 1st of July 2015 a separate institution will be responsible for the issues related to national minorities, namely the Department of national Minorities. A similar institution existed in Lithuania before but the Department of National Minorities and the Diaspora was abolished in 2010. The responsibility of the protection of the Lithuanian diaspora was given to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture was designated to be responsible for the issues related to national minorities in Lithuania.

When the Department of National Minorities and the Diaspora operated, it faced criticism for prioritising problems of the Lithuanian diaspora and not paying enough attention to problems of national minorities in Lithuania. However, when it was abolished the representatives of organisations of national communities in Lithuania stated that it had been a mistake and that a separate institution which would protect national minorities and would prepare suggestions for the state policy regarding national minorities was needed in Lithuania. After long discussions the decision was reached about establishing a new institution under the government of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Minister of Culture has nominated Vida Montvydaitė,PhD, for the post of the Director of the Department of National Minorities who was the Deputy Director of the Department of national Minorities and the Diaspora between the years 2002 and 2009. Since March 2013 she has been Lithuanian consul in Sejny. Vida Montvydaitė is 46 years old and she graduated from Vilnius University. She is a historian and an expert in English Studies. Montvydaitė defended her doctoral thesis at Vytautas Magnus University in Kowno.

Translated by Barbara Żur within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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