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Seminar on Baltic Nordic Security&Trade December 4 in NYC
The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) and The American Latvian Association, Inc. (ALA) are organizing a seminar entitled:

The Future of Baltic Nordic Security and Trade: Sustaining and Strengthening U.S. Engagement in the Region

The seminar with renowned panelists will be held at the Scandinavia House in New York City on the 4th of December, followed by a wine and cheese reception. The list of speakers and a detailed program will be announced soon. 

Friday, 4th of December, 2015 
2:30 to 5:30PM 
Scandinavia House 
58 Park Avenue 
New York City 

Please RSVP

Participation is free. 


For more information, please contact 

Karoline Kelder 

or call 301-340-1954 (JBANC) or 301-340-1914 (ALA).
Ukrainian Working Group meets with Congressional offices
The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) coordinated with its Central and East European Coalition partners to send a letter to Senate and House chairs and ranking members of the Appropriations Committees, to urge them to provide financial assistance for the economic, security, and humanitarian relief needs of Ukraine on October 29. Among the 18 groups that signed the letter were JBANC and its parent organizations, the Estonian American National Council, Inc., the American Latvian Association, Inc., and the Lithuanian American Council, Inc. 

Following the successful roll out of the coalition letter calling for a comprehensive U.S. assistance package for Ukraine, our organizations had several meetings with key Congressional offices to discuss the importance of robust U.S. assistance to Ukraine in FY16. Thus far, we have discussed the urgency of this situation with the offices of Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Barbara Milkulski (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John McCain (R-AZ) and Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Peter Roskam (R-IL), and Charlie Dent (R-PA). Congressional staffers were receptive to our concerns and the asks outlined in the coalition letter, while also noting that there are significant competing needs for U.S. assistance given the instability in many parts of the world. Some expressed their frustration with both our European partners for not doing more to assist Ukraine and with the Administration for not requesting more assistance for Ukraine.

Next week visits are planned with the offices of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). 
Congressman Ted Poe
Congressman Ted Poe of Texas joins House Baltic Caucus
(Washington, DC) – The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) continues to engage with offices in the U.S. House to encourage Representatives to join the House Baltic Caucus. The Baltic Caucus was established in 1997, and is currently co-chaired by Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).
On October 22, the office of Texas Republican Congressman Ted Poe announced that he would join the caucus,
raising membership to 50
. Rep. Poe represents the 2nd congressional district of Texas. Among other assignments, he serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary and House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  
JBANC welcomes Congressman Poe to the Caucus and thanks him for advancing U.S-Baltic relations and democratic values!
For more information and resources on the House Baltic Caucus, please visit the website:


Holodomor Memorial Dedication Ceremony held November 7 in Washington, DC
Last weekend, after 14 years of advocacy, the Holodomor memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC. Several thousand Ukrainian Americans from around the country attended the ceremony near Washington’s Union Station. Many Baltic Americans also attended the commemoration in solidarity. Ukraine's first lady, Maryna Poroshenko, attended the ceremony, as did Reps. Sander Levin (D-MI) and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio (D-OH), who are co-chairs of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus and members of the House Baltic Caucus.
During taped video remarks, Senator Rob Portman (D-OH) voiced support for enhanced military assistance for Ukraine. Additionally, representatives of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush read letters of support for the memorial, the White House released a statement on the dedication and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) submitted a statement for the Congressional record expressing sympathy for the “victims, survivors and families of this terrible tragedy.” He concluded saying, “We must learn our history so we do not repeat the mistakes of our past. We must ensure this never happens again—especially at a time where Russia continues to show aggression in Ukraine.” 

The Holodomor famine took place from 1932 to 1933, under the regime of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. This man-made famine, artificially created by the regime to destroy those seeking independence from the Soviet Union, caused the death of around 7 to 10 million people. 

The memorial, authorized by Congress in 2006, commemorates the millions of innocent victims of the famine engineered by Stalin’s communist regime. 


The 2016 U.S. presidential candidates on Putin's aggression
Erik Lazdins of JBANC analyzed recent statements by eight leading U.S. presidential contenders (Trump, Clinton, Carson, Sanders, Rubio, Bush, Kasich, Fiorina) on U.S.-Russia and Baltics policy.
In his article Lazdins writes that in a little more than a year, citizens of the United States will go to the polls and vote for their next president. Central and Eastern European Americans represent roughly 22 million of those voters and make up important voting blocks in key states like Ohio, Michigan, California and New York.
Also, he adds that Russian aggression is a major issue for these voters, as many of their descendants fled to the U.S. as refugees following World War II from countries that were run over by the Soviet Union. Today, in light of an again antagonistic Russia, its strings pulled by the mass manipulator Vladimir Putin, the 2016 presidential candidates must take a stance on U.S.-Russia relations.

Erik Lazdins was with JBANC via a stipend provided by the American Latvian Association during the summer of 2015.
Kristina von Rosenvinge's book launch "Escaping the Russian Bear" at Annapolis Bookstore November 10,  2015

A discussion and book-signing with Annapolis resident and author Kristina von Rosenvinge on her new book "Escaping the Russian Bear - An Estonian Girl's Memoir of Loss and Survival During World II" took place on November 10 at the Annapolis Bookstore. Pictures from the event are on Flickr. The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) and Maryland-Estonia Exchange Council (MEEC) were the sponsors of the event.

About the book: 
Kristina von Rosenvinge’s mother perished in 1940 when two Russian warplanes shot down the unarmed Finnish airliner Kaleva. This unprovoked criminal act occurred in what was technically peacetime, but the fragile relationship between the USSR and Finland and the occupation of Estonia by the Red Army, prevented further inquiry. All Kristina knew was that her mother would never return. When her father, serving in the German army, died on the Eastern Front, she was adopted by her aunt and uncle. They understood, after the deportations in 1940, that they had to escape occupied Estonia or be destroyed by the Russian Bear. 

This book is a fascinating and moving account of how the family first masqueraded as Baltic Germans, made their escape, and returned to Estonia, only to make another last-minute departure on a German troop ship on the last day before the Soviets returned to Estonia. Kristina’s family survived the war as it swept through Austria, and the days that followed were dominated by a search for enough food to eat. After winning their struggle for normal life and stability in Austria, they nevertheless decided to resettle in the United States. 

JBANC Managing Director Karl Altau with Karoline Kelder during election day in Rockville, Maryland on November 3, 2015.
JBANC Managing Director Karl Altau with Karoline Kelder during election day in Rockville, Maryland on November 3, 2015.  

JBANC welcomes Karoline Kelder to the office

JBANC welcomes Karoline Kelder to the office, as she begins an internship with JBANC from the fall of 2015 until summer 2016. 

Karoline is a graduate of the University of Tartu, with a B.A. in international relations and a minor in communications. She received the prestigious Baltic American Freedom Foundation professional internship scholarship that will enable her to get a taste of politics and policy-making in Washington, DC, and to work with the Baltic-American communities on core issues. 

During her bachelor’s studies, she spent a semester abroad at the Sciences Po in Lyon, France examining the workings of the United States executive branch and the special relationship between the U.S. and UK. In addition to her academic experience, she interned at the U.S. embassy in Estonia in the Public Affairs office in early 2014. During the summer of 2014 she interned for the Estonian embassy in Washington, DC as a Fund of American Studies scholarship recipient. 

During her internship at JBANC, Karoline will be working to ensure that the voice of the Baltic-American community remains strong and that the excellent ties between the United States and the Baltic countries deepen and broaden. As part of the JBANC team her tasks will include rallying support for the Baltic countries and Ukraine, and fostering co-operation with Central and Eastern European communities and organizations in the United States. 

From her internship, Ms. Kelder hopes to gain insight into the work JBANC does, and would like to pursue meaningful relationships with contacts that she can take home with her to Estonia, where she hopes to start working for the Estonian diplomatic corps. 

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