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JBANC Hosts Capitol Hill Event for Visiting Future Baltic Leaders


On August 11th, the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) hosted its second annual briefing on Capitol Hill for visiting Baltic high school students. The students were in the United States for a three week Leadership Academy program under the auspices of the Baltic American Freedom Foundation (BAFF). BAFF, a non-profit foundation endowed by proceeds from a U.S. Government investment fund in the Baltic countries, works “to enrich ties between the United States and Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, through programs of education and exchange centering on economic growth and democratic processes. Visibly strengthening U.S.-Baltic ties is a core goal.”

JBANC Board Director Henry Gaidis Addressed Knights of Lithuania National Convention in Florida

The Knights of Lithuania held their 102nd National Convention on August 7-9, 2015 at the Hilton Orlando Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) was honored in having been asked to provide a speaker for the three-day event. Henry Gaidis, a long-time JBANC Board Director representing the Lithuanian American Council, participated and spoke about issues of central concern to the Baltic-American community and the work of JBANC over the past year.

75th Anniversary of the Welles Declaration

On July 23rd, JBANC remembered the 75th anniversary of the Welles Declaration. It released a statement that day which was also distributed to Members of the United States Congress. Here is an excerpt:

"...For half a century, that U.S. policy of non-recognition of Soviet legitimacy over the Baltic countries was in place and served as a powerful message to the Kremlin that indiscriminate land grabs and disregard of international borders was illegal and reprehensible. It also stood as a shining light for the Baltic nations, as they struggled under the oppressive weight of foreign occupation and terror.

...We see that Moscow continues to obfuscate and fabricate lies in recognizing the facts of its take-over adn occupation of the Baltic countries in 1939-40. The white-washing must stop. We see a revanchist Russia, which has occupied and annexed Crimea, terrorizing the local population and native Tatar communities. We see Moscow’s direct ties as not just an accomplice but invader and aggressor in Ukraine’s Donbass, and its recent actions to further move and violate borders within Georgia’s sovereign territory.

The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC), representing Americans of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian heritage, expresses thanks to the United States government and all the other nations that also upheld the principles of international law and order in standing up for the Baltic countries. We also share our hope that Russia’s aggression and moves against its neighbors, particularly in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, will be pushed back and righted."

(Left to right:) Karl Altau, Kara Nordness, Peter Blumberg, Ambassador Nancy Pettit, Anita Juberts and Erik Lazdins
Meeting with the New U.S. Ambassador to Latvia

On August 13, the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) and the American Latvian Association (ALA) discussed U.S.-Latvian cooperation with newly sworn-in Ambassador Nancy Pettit. President Peter Blumberg and Anita Juberts attended on behalf of ALA.

The briefing included discussion of issues concerning Russia's aggression in Ukraine and threats to the Baltic countries, along with cross cultural relations vis-à-vis the "Svieka Latvija" trip in which Latvian-American students visit the land of their ancestors. Also discussed were the Michigan state partnership with Latvia, and efforts to increase investment and trade between Latvia and the United States.
JBANC to Commemorate "Black Ribbon Day" with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

JBANC will join the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in a special remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony on Sunday, August 23 at 4:00 p.m. The memorial is located at the intersection of New Jersey Ave. NW and Massachusetts Ave. NW.

This will be the 76th year anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the secret protocol that divided Eastern Europe between the two totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Copyright © 2015 Joint Baltic American National Committee, All rights reserved.

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