On January 17, Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Silberstein visited the city of Alytus. Mr. Silberstein met with the Vice-mayor of Alytus to discuss local Lithuanian-American projects and events. Alytus is the sister city of Rochester, NY, and one of the signature programs of this partnership is the virtual orchestra bridge which connects the Alytus Music School Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra. On February 2, the virtual “bridge” will connect the two orchestras for a live performance. In the education sphere, the Alytus College will host a U.S. Fulbright Scholar, the first college (as opposed to a university) in Lithuania to do so. Dr. Joseph Bulsys will teach Communication courses and develop curriculum in public speaking; work with Alytus College on academic projects; and establish a partnership between the Alytus college and SUNY-Geneseo.
During his visit, DCM Silberstein also presented the U.S. Embassy book donation to Alytus Jurgis Kuncinas Public Library as part of the Lithuanian President's initiative ,,Knygu Kaledos” (Books for Christmas). In his remarks during the presentation, Mr. Silberstein said, “Today, reading is no longer a solitary pastime. People talk about what they’ve read on social media, almost, it seems, in real time. So I hope that these books will find their fans in every medium, and will be used to create many events and conversations that bring our two nations closer together.”
Mr. Silberstein visited the Maple Street Cemetery to honor the memory of Sgt. Arunas Jarmalavicius, a native of Alytus who was killed during an attack on an airfield base in Chaghcharan (Afghanistan), by laying flowers on his grave.
Mr. Silberstein also met with the representatives of Alytus Women's Center, a NGO that maintains a domestic violence crisis center.