Polyglot artist, diplomat proposed for Lithuania’s cultmin

Liana Ruokytė – Jonsson
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

Ruokytė-Jonsson, 50, who currently works as the Lithuanian Film Center, embarked on her path of culture nearly 30 years ago by graduating from the Lithuanian Music Academy’s Theater Faculty with a degree in directing and serving as Lithuania’s culture attache to Sweden and other Nordic countries for the following decade.

According to the CV provided by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, she is fluent in Swedish, Russia, English and Danish languages, understands Norwegian and has basic knowledge of German.

Lithuania’s former education and science minister Kornelijus Platelis, a poet, said he had met the future culture policy architect when she worked as culture attache to the Nordic countries and was convinced by her activeness.

“I can say with certainty that she was one of our best culture attaches, as the cultural ties were being started very actively, various artists often went to the countries and had their concerts and literature readings there. The work of culture attache is to organize and strengthen relations, and Liana was highly efficient here. I believe she can be very good and efficient at any job she takes, as she possesses skills as a manager,” he told BNS.

The future minister has sung in GIN’GAS – a band of her brother Remigijus Ruokis.

At a meeting with President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Wednesday, Ruokyte-Jonsson already listed her work priorities, namely, focus on young artists, culture promotion in regions, with more attention to youth and children.

“Every person has a right to culture – it is a right envisaged in the Constitution,” Ruokytė-Jonsson told journalists after the meeting.

The candidate for culture minister left for Stockholm two decades ago where she passed the state examination of the Swedish language, continued her art and theater studies in the Swedish capital before proceeding to Berlin and Rome. Ruokytė-Jonsson has founded and headed a number of Baltic and Nordic culture initiatives and has cooperated with Lithuania’s cultural media.

She is well known in the society of writers and translators – according to her LinkedIn profile, she has published a total of 11 Lithuanian prose and poetry translations, mainly to Swedish, since 2000. In 2005, she received the prestigious Translator of the Year Award from the Lithuanian Writers’ Union for translating Lithuanian poetry into Swedish.

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