This year 6 different US high schools participated in hosting Lithuanian school children. In addition to their studies, the 16 year old students also engaged in community activities that saw some students working on a programme with Native American Indians. The six students that participated this year were: Gintė Petrulionytė, Junda Adriuskevičiutė Dovilė Bogušytė; Paulius Beniušis, Augustė Urbakonytė and Barbara Vasiliauskaitė.
Lithuanian Ambassador to the U.S., Žygimantas Pavilionis, welcomed the 75 guest and noted the close and productive relations between the U.S. and Lithuania. These relations, he pointed out, are based on mutual understanding and shared values such as freedom and democracy. Former U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Anne E. Derse also spoke at tonight’s event. Ambassador Derse has been instrumental to getting the ExCeLprogram involved, thus allowing Lithuanian and American students get to know each other better and contributing in fostering closer ties between future Lithuanian and American leaders.
She told the audience that the ExCel program is entirely financed with private funds and therefore depends on the generosity of some American philanthropists and that is essential to the success of this programme’s activities. Cynthia Pasky CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions International (S3), an American company with a strong representation in Lithuania and a major sponsor, thanked Ambassador Anne E. Derse for initiating the new programme. American Councils president Dr. Dan E. Davidson explained how ’Investing in future global leaders” is a cultural, educational and leadership exchange programme. The programme is still growing and has now more than 30 years of experience.