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Lithuania: Healing the Legacies of War and Oppression

October 14-24, 2024

The trauma of war lies deep within societies and transcends generations. This study seminar will explore the painful and lingering legacies of war in the small country of Lithuania located on the Baltic Sea, bordering Latvia, Russia, Poland and Belarus. Once an empire that stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, by the 20th century its borders were vastly diminished and it was left caught between Prussia and Russia, as the world went to war. Our seminar will move from Vilnius to Klaipeda learning about Lithuania’s history from the Nazi and Soviet occupations to today’s Ukrainian refugee crisis. At the time of the Holocaust, Vilnius was the Jerusalem of the north and Lithuania had a very large Jewish population. Under Nazi occupation, 90% of Lithuania’s Jewish population were brutally murdered, largely at the hands of Lithuanians. As the Soviets began to invade the Baltic coast, the Prussians pushed children across the border into Lithuania. These German-speaking children, known as “Wolf Children,” were perceived as a threat and struggled to survive in Lithuania. Across the former Soviet Union, times of occupation are a history of deportation and betrayal. Lithuanians have dealt with these many tragedies in silence. Today’s war in Ukraine and the many refugees it has brought to Lithuania are reminders of what many Lithuanian’s have held in silence. We’ll learn about efforts to help survivors, descendants and communities open up, confront, heal and learn from war-time experiences. LCC International University (formerly Lithuanian Christian College) in Klaipeda has a Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation. The University hosts students from across the former Soviet Union (including Ukraine, Belarus and Russia) and war affected countries in the Middle East and Africa. We will spend time with LCC learning about their peace and reconciliation work in Lithuania and beyond.

TRAVEL
Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from the seminar.  Travel days are Monday-Tuesday, October 14-15 and Thursday, October 24. Arrivals into Vilnius International Airport (VNO) should be scheduled for Tuesday, October 15 in time for dinner at the hotel at 6:00 p.m. Departures may be scheduled Thursday October 24 from Vilnius International Airport (VNO) after 6:00 a.m.  Participants will be away for one Sunday.

ACCOMODATIONS
The seminar will last 10 days with 9 nights of accomodations. Accommodations are double-occupancy. Some single-occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Those who choose to extend their travel either before or after the seminar may do so on their own and at their own expense.

COST
The seminar cost is $2,250. Cost is per person double occupancy including all seminar expenses (meals, accommodations, program, tips, tours, in-country transport). Airline transportation to and from Vilnius, Lithuania (VNO) is not included.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE & SCHOLARSHIPS

If applicants are seeking financial assistance to help pay for their participation in this Travel Study Seminar, they are encouraged to first reach out to their congregation or mid-council, many of whom have Peace and Global Witness Offering funds available. There are also limited scholarships available from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program for the following groups of Presbyterians:

  • first call pastors and those new in ministry who demonstrate financial need
  • individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC)

APPLICATION DUE DATE
Applications are due by Friday, June 14, 2024. After that date, applications will be considered as space remains available.

Apply Now

Preliminary Schedule