Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Labas from Sara!

Hello! Labas! My name is Sara and I am one of the current interns at the US Embassy Vilnius. I am 21 years old and come from the warm and sunny American state of South Carolina. I am thrilled to be in Lithuania, especially with all of the snow falling right now. I study International Studies and Political Science at Elon University in North Carolina, where I concentrate on European and German Studies. I have been to Lithuania twice before for studies with one of my professors who was a Fulbright Scholar to Lithuania, and I was very eager to return when I found out I would be interning with the Department of State. I think that Lithuania has a rich culture and history and I find it very exciting and interesting.

I have been in Vilnius for almost one month now and most of this time has been spent working on my very first project – the 1 Billion Rising dance! On February 14th, an organization called V-Day planned for a movement of 1 billion women across the globe to dance in solidarity against violence against women. At the US Embassy Vilnius, we brought together men and women alike to dance. The movement truly aligns with the American values of human rights and women’s empowerment and brings the issues to the forefront. In 203 countries around the world, people came together on February 14th to stop violence against women and girls and to demand an end to it.

Together with another intern, Meredith, I worked on organizing a rising at our embassy. If you ask Meredith and me, we definitely will not say that we are the best dancers, but this dance is fun and upbeat and we really enjoyed learning and teaching it. During several lunches leading up to February 14th, we had groups gather to practice before the big performance that would be filmed. Everyone worked very hard to get the dance down pact, moving and grooving in their business attire. For our final dance, different parts of the dance were done all over the city, including Cathedral Square, Town Hall Square, St Anne’s Cathedral, and the Wedding Chapel. By doing the dance around the city, we were able to show how beautiful Vilnius is and some of the sights to see in the city. We had a wide variety of people come out to dance with us, including Lithuanian staff, American staff, interns, and even the Marine Guards. The different segments were then carefully put together and made it into a cool music video. 1 Billion Rising is a very fun event to have the opportunity to work on. As a woman, I feel that this event is important in bringing awareness to the issue around the globe. Plus, as a foreigner, it was very cool to not just see some new sights in the city of Vilnius, but to actually dance beside them.

You can watch the video here!