On Friday morning, I had the opportunity to meet with former President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus. Mr. Adamkus invited me to visit him and discuss my research when I introduced myself to him in October at the Marine Ball. I had heard him speak in Seattle many years ago, before he was President of Lithuania, and took advantage of the opportunity to say hello.
President Adamkus served two terms in office, from 1998 to 2003 and from 2004 to 2009. Born in Lithuania, Mr. Adamkus left Lithuania when the Soviet Union occupied it at the end of World War II. He had a successful career with the US Environmental Protection Agency, serving continuously in appointed positions under six presidents (without ever having to submit a resignation during a transition). When Lithuania regained independence, Mr. Adamkus chose to return to his homeland and ran for president.
We had a very interesting discussion about his work as president and as former president, his experience as a member and leader of the US negotiating team for US-USSR environmental agreements, his travels to Lithuania during the Soviet period, and his thoughts about the impact of the 1972 events that I am studying. I have always heard that President Adamkus is a gracious person and I certainly found him to be so. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. And I feel very lucky to have had an opportunity to meet a former President of Lithuania.