Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lithuania's Honorary Consuls: Randy Miller, Portland, Oregon

This is a continuing series profiling Lithuania's Honorary Consuls in the United States. 
Thanks to Aiste Zalepuga who conducted the interviews with each Consul and collected additional materials. 

Today we feature a post about Randy Miller, who has been serving as Lithuania's Honorary Consul in Portland, Oregon for ten years. He received a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University and an M.S. in Economics and Political Science from Portland State University. He currently serves as the President of Produce Row Property Management Company, and is listed in "Who's Who in Finance and Industry" and "Who's Won in the World."

Portland, with a population of nearly 590,000, is the largest city in the state of Oregon and the 28th largest (by population) in the United States. It is the national leader in land use, urban planning, transportation, environmental stewardship, and many livability innovations. 

"The Lithuanian disapora here is not large," acknowledges Miller, "but there are one thousand people of Lithuanian descent, with about 10-20% connected through organized efforts to retain Lithuanian culture and pass it on to their children. Many events are held each year around their several days of Independence," of which there are two. These include: the Day of Restoration of the State of Lithuania (1918); and the Day of Restoration of Independence for Lithuania, which celebrates the country's emancipation from the Soviet Union in 1990. These festivities are typically celebrated in the form of folk dances, singing, and story-telling, and are organized by Portland Lithuanians.

Randy Miller's selection as Honorary Consul is an interesting one. Unlike our first profile, which chronicled the goals and responsibilities of Daiva Navarrette, a Lithuanian-Amerian serving as the Consul to Los Angeles, Miller has no familial connections with the country. "I was selected by Ambassador Usackas ten years ago because of my interest in the international community and participation in international organizations in Portland, as well as my involvement in the economic development of Oregon." Though he didn't have any obvious connections to Lithuania at the time, he recognized his ability to aid the Lithuanian community in Portland with regard to their economic development, and therefore accepted the position.

As Honorary Consul, Miller attends the Oregon Consular Corps meetings and events, as well as tourism and international festivals. He is also responsible for consular affairs. "I respond to many emails and phone calls from people all over the United States inquiring about immigration, citizenship (including dual), student or work visas, and similar issues such as those. I also fulfill requests from the Embassy regarding any political issues that may arise, connecting with our Congressional delegation." His current goal is to maintain a public representation of Lithuania in the Portland area, and do what is necessary for the promotion of Lithuanian culture in Oregon.