2015 sausio mėn. 13 -18 dienomis Kanados Lietuvių Jaunimo Sajungos (KLJS) atstovės Skaidra Puodžiūnaitė ir Daina Šablinskaitė dalyvo Pietų Amerikos lietuvių jaunimo kongrese Montevidėjuje, Urugvajuje.
Pirmasis Pietų Amerikos lietuvių jaunimo suvažiavimas (PALJS), buvo suburtas 1997m prelato Edmundo Putrimo iniciatyva. Pr. Putrimas norėjo rasti būdą, kaip prasmingam darbui suvienyti tris aktyviausias Pietų Amerikos lietuvių jaunimo organizacijas: Urugvajaus, Argentinos ir Braziijos.
PALJS suteikia Pietų Amerikos lietuvių jaunimui galimybę susitikti su kitais bendruomenių vadovais kaimyniniuose kraštuose, suteikia progą dalintis patirtimi, sužinoti daugiau apie bendruomenių struktūrą ir veiklos sritis, sudaro galimybes keliauti ir plėtoti draugystes.
Prelatas Putrimas labai norėjo ir skatino, kad bent vienas KLJS atstovas kiekvienais metais dalyvautų šiame suvažiavime.
Lietuviai kanadiečiai PALJS suvažiavimuose dalyvauja daugiau kaip dešimt metų, kuriuose jie mielai dalinasi patirtimi, padeda jų planavime.
Canadian-Lithuanian Youth Association’s Representative’s Travels to the South America Lithuanian Youth Congress in Uruguay
At the beginning of January 2015, we, the Canadian Lithuanian Youth Association (CLYA) executive members Skaidra Puodziunas and Daina Sablinskas, traveled over 20 hours and a total of 9,040 km to participate in the South American Lithuanian Youth Congress in Montevideo, Uruguay from January 13 to 18. It was the experience of a lifetime.
The very first South American Lithuanian Youth Congress (SALYC), under the leadership of Monsignor Edmond Putrimas, was held in 1997. Msgr. Putrimas’ motivation for organizing the South American Youth Congress was to find a way to unify the three most active South American Lithuanian Youth organizations from Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil in a meaningful way. Each year, the countries rotate hosting responsibilities.
SALYC gives South American Lithuanian Youth an opportunity to meet other Lithuanian leaders in their neighbouring countries, share best practises, learn more about the structure and function of their communities, a chance for travel, developing friendships and keeping the spirit of Lithuanian identity alive, despite being thousands of kilometres away from Lithuania.
A few years later, Msgr. Putrimas initiated the partnership of CLYA and South American Youth, so that each year, CLYA would send at least one delegate to SALYC. And we have done this for over a decade now.
The purpose has always been to open a dialogue between Canadian Lithuanians and South American Youth. How do each of our countries’ Youth Organizations uphold Lithuanian culture? How are our activities similar? How are they different?
Canada has been a significant contributor to the event, sending many talented young delegates, as well as actively participating in the planning and execution of the SALYC. Previous delegates who have attended the SALYC have not only shown more enthusiasm in actively participating in their community upon return, but have become new leaders and role models in the community.
Past CLYA delegates include Ruta Samonis, Petras Vaiciunas, Stasys Kuliavas, Daniel Sarunas, Darius Paznekas, Tomas Kuras, and Vida Naudziunas, among others. They are now leaders and executive members of various Lithuanian organizations (including WLYA, CLYA, various cultural/arts/sports organizations, Lithuanian credit unions, etc.). SALYC has helped many of these individuals become leaders in the community. They are not simply spectators or mere participants in our community, but active organizers who help to keep the community alive for future generations.
The highlights of this year’s SALYC included:
- A meeting with Lithuania’s Foreign Affairs deputy minister Mantvydas Bekesius. He visited South America for the first time with Canada’s previous Lithuanian Ambassador in Canada, Ginte Damusis. They were also accompanied by Brazil’s General Consulate, Laura Guobuzaite, who made her first visit to Uruguay.
- Participation in the first Annual South American Communities Congress. A prominent theme was the significance of learning the Lithuanian language and the means of doing so. Three boys who had returned from studies in Lithuania spoke about their experiences in learning the Lithuanian language and the basics of Lithuanian history, geography, art, culture, politics and economy. This is how South American youth learns Lithuanian – not by going to Saturday school, as it does not exist there, but by sending delegates from their respective communities to study for a year in Lithuania.
- Excursion to “La Manta”, a nearby countryside for further discussion with the entire Uruguayan Lithuanian Community, SALYC delegates and guests, with focus on a central theme: “Lithuanian cultural preservation over 100 years”. Questions for discussion were: How will our communities uphold Lithuanian culture and traditions 100 years from now? Will it differ drastically from today? How will these practices be similar?