52 Anniversary Excellence Award Dinner Honoring Marijus Gudynas, the 2018 'Man of the Year'

The Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture proudly announces that the 2018 “Man of the Year” is The Hon. Marijus Gudynas, diplomat and Director of the Department of Lithuanians Living Abroad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Lithuania. Among other responsibilities, Mr. Gudynas served as Lithuania’s Consul General in Chicago and the 28 United States from 2012 to 2017. 

Mr. Gudynas receives the Museum’s 2018 Excellence Award for his service to Lithuania and Lithuanians worldwide and his dedicated pursuit of friendship, freedom, and democracy for all people and nations. He will be honored at the Museum’s Annual Excellence Award Dinner on Sunday, September 30, 2018. Everyone is warmly invited to attend.

About Marijus Gudynas

Marijus Gudynas was born and raised in Kaunas, Lithuania. He graduated from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture at Kaunas University of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in building renovation. Outside his studies, Mr. Gudynas was drawn to civic engagement. As a student, he joined the “Atgaja” ecological movement, one of the first independent, nongovernmental organizations in Soviet-occupied Lithuania. As Lithuania transitioned to independence, Mr. Gudynas proved an effective leader with a penchant for public service. He was a member and chair of several youth organizations; public adviser to the Mayor of the city of Kaunas for youth policy; and a founder of an umbrella organization, The Round Table of Youth Organization Leaders of Kaunas.

From 1997 to 1998, Marijus Gudynas served as Undersecretary of the Kaunas District Municipality. In 1998, he joined the European Integration Division of the Ministry of Public Administration Reforms and Local Authorities and participated in an economic study program organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance in Taiwan. Throughout the entire negotiation process for Lithuania’s accession to the European Union from 1999 to 2003, Mr. Gudynas served as Regional Attaché at the Mission of Lithuania to the EU in Brussels. His main area of responsibility was the negotiations under Chapter 21: “Regional Policy And Coordination Of Structural Instruments” which determined the terms for EU accession. From 2003 to 2005, he served as Deputy Director of the Regional Policy Department at the Ministry of the Interior, responsible for the delineation, management, and representation of Lithuania’s interests in various EU cross-border, interregional, and transnational cooperation programs. In 2005, Mr. Gudynas joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2005 to 2006, he served as a Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Lithuania to Belarus. Upon returning to Lithuania, he was appointed Head of the Belarus Division and in turn, Deputy Director and Director of the Eastern Neighborhood Policy Department for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

From 2012 to 2017, he served as Consul General of Lithuania in Chicago, whose jurisdiction includes 28 states. During this time, Mr. Gudynas gained the respect and admiration of community members and civic leaders inside and outside the Lithuanian community. An active and vocal advocate for Lithuania and the ideals of freedom and democracy, he rallied Chicago Lithuanians in support of Ukrainian protests against the Russian invasion of Crimea and invited others victims of Soviet occupation to join Lithuanians in commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the fateful Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Always proud and eager to showcase Lithuanian culture, he ensured that Lithuania was well-represented at a multitude of cross-cultural events in Chicago and beyond. Upon returning to Lithuania in the summer of 2017, he was appointed Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responsible for the Kaliningrad Region. Since the end of 2017, he leads the Ministry’s Department of Lithuanians Living Abroad.

Marijus Gudynas is married to Dr. Gintarija Gudynienė and has four children: Marija Mantautė, Danielė, Karolis, and Paulina.

Excellence Award Dinner