On February 13th, the Chicago mayoral council adopted a resolution, congratulating Vilnius on the occasion of a 20-year partnership as a sister city. Chicago, home of the largest population of Lithuanian emigrants beyond Lithuania‘s borders, is known as “Little Lithuania” states the resolution. “During the history of Chicago, Lithuanians have been a positive addition to its growth, and continue to play an important role in Chicago‘s cultural, public, and economic life.” Thanks in part to the efforts of Lithuanian Americans, “the city of Chicago has become a better place to live in and work.” These are just a few of the reasons that this sister city partnership should be commemorated.
The planned year long series of events, was initiated by a meeting of General Consul of the Republic of Lithuania, Marijus Gudynas, president of Vilnius-Chicago Sister City committee, Stanley Balzekas, Chicago mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, and leaders of the Sister City programs. During the meeting, the expansion of the nature of the Chicago-Vilnius partnership was discussed. The General Consul presented Rahm Emmanuel with congratulatory statement from the mayor of Vilnius, Arturas Zuokas, on the occasion of this 20th anniversary. The mayor of Vilnius pledged a similar goal of partnership expansion, to be presented to the Vilnius mayoral council for approval.
The agreement between the third largest city in the U.S. and the capital of Lithuania was signed in 1983. Both mayors have received reciprocal invitations to visit their sister city in celebration of this 20th year anniversary. Stanley Balzekas, president of the Vilnius-Chicago sister city committee, discussed initial plans of events for the year long commemoration.