National Forum on Human Rights. Endorsing diverse Lithuania in Europe
The National Forum on Human Rights (NFHR) is an annual event organised on Human Rights Day which invites the public to discuss the current situation and what could be done to make Lithuania a good place to live for people of all nationalities, races, genders, social statuses, beliefs, and convictions – for everyone. In 2020, the NFHR is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights. This year’s motto is “Endorsing diverse Lithuania in Europe”.
The NFHR is a unique event which unites the academia, the public and private sectors, and hundreds of participants. The topics this year will invite the public to discuss the pandemic’s impact on public mental health and education, the fathers’ involvement in children’s early development, effective response to hate crime, human rights violations in Belarus, gender equality, data protection, the right to privacy, and other issues.
Investigative journalist at Laisvės TV
Birutė Davidonytė is an investigative journalist at Laisvės TV.
Journalist at LRT Radijas
Agnė Skamarakaitė is a journalist at LRT Radijas.
Director of Stay Safe East (UK)
Ruth Bashall is Director of Stay Safe East (UK).
Head ofMonitoring and Analysis of Public Information Dept. at Office of Inspector of Journalist Ethics
Aliona Gaidarovič is the head of the Monitoring and Analysis of Public Information Department at the Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics.
Dean of Faculty of Informatics at Vytautas Magnus University
Prof. Tomas Krilavičius is the Dean of Faculty of Informatics at Vytautas Magnus University and a program committee member in many international conferences. He represents Lithuania in the NATO Science and Technology Organization working group. His main research interests are the applications of artificial intelligence and language technology.
Vice-Minister of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania
Justina Jakštienė is the Vice-Minister of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania.
Head of the Refugee Council of Lithuania
Yusuf Muhammadzoda is the Head of the Refugee Council of Lithuania.
Director of Refugee and Migrant Program at Lithuanian Red Cross
Eglė Samuchovaitė is Director of Refugee and Migrant Program at Lithuanian Red Cross.
Lawyer and Assoc. Professor at the MRU Institute of International and EU Law
Laurynas Biekša is a lawyer and Assoc. Professor at the MRU Institute of International and EU Law.
Editor of English news at LRT.lt
Benas Gerdžiūnas is an editor of English news at LRT.lt.
Representative of Lithuania's Government at ECHR
Karolina Bubnytė-Širmenė is a doctor in the field of social sciences. Since 2014, she has been a representative of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania at the European Court of Human Rights.
Her scientific and professional priorities include the role of courts in the implementation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Lithuania.
Member of Seimas and Seimas Committee on Human Rights
Arūnas Valinskas is a member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and the Seimas Committee on Human Rights.
Krive (chief priestess) of Romuva
Inija Trinkūnienė is the Krive (chief priestess) of Romuva, the indigenous religion of Lithuania, member of the Council of European Congress of Ethnic Religions. She is a singer and teacher of Lithuanian sacred chanting – sutartines, and leader of Romuva Ritual folklore group Kulgrinda, which recorded 10 CDs devoted to Lithuanian Gods and Goddesses.
Head of the MO Museum
Since 2016, Milda Ivanauskienė has been the head of the MO Museum. She has implemented the transformation of the museum from a “museum without walls” into a new institution in the centre of Vilnius, shaped the organisation’s strategy and positioning.
Artist, writer, essayist, cultural commentator, exhibition curator
Paulina Pukytė is an artist, writer, essayist, cultural commentator, exhibition curator. She creates site-specific installations and interventions, conceptual projects, writes critical and satirical articles on cultural topics, experimental literature and poetry.
Sculptor, performance and video artist
Dainius Liškevičius is a sculptor, performance and video artist. He is one of the most active artists of the “breakthrough generation”, whose work is distinguished by social engagement, criticism of society and social reality. His works are in Lithuanian museum collections, private collections in Lithuania and abroad. In 2015, his installation “Museum” represented Lithuania at the Venice International Art Biennale.
Director of Vilnius ORT Sholom Aleichem Jewish Gymnasium
Ruth Reches is Director of Vilnius ORT Sholom Aleichem Jewish Gymnasium.
Anthropologist, mediator in Vilnius Roma community, educator at Padėk Pritapti
Agnieška Avin is an anthropologist, mediator in the Vilnius Roma community and educator at Padėk Pritapti.
Lawyer and chair of the Lithuanian Jewish Community.
Faina Kukliansky is a lawyer and chair of the Lithuanian Jewish Community.
Ambassador–at–large for human rights and gender equality
Andrius Krivas is ambassador–at–large for human rights and gender equality, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.
Professor at Law School of the Mykolas Romeris University
Prof. Dr. Justinas Žilinskas is a Professor at Law School of the Mykolas Romeris University.
Biomedical Sciences PhD, pediatric dentist
Rasa Račienė holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and works as a pediatric dentist. She is a member of the LGBTQ + support group and as a mother of an LGBTQ + child participates in LGBTQ + activism. In February 2021, Rasa initiated an open letter “LGBTQ + people – our children and loved ones”, which was supported by almost 19,000 people.
Sociologist, Lithuanian Center for Social Research
Dr. Liutauras Labanauskas is a sociologist and researcher at the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences. In 2019 he conducted a qualitative study on the hate crime experienced by the vulnerable communities which was commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior of Lithuania. In 2020–2021 he worked on a joint project together with the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights and conducted a qualitative study on the possibilities of legalization of gender-neutral partnership and the needs of LGBTQIA + individuals.
Lawyer, National LGBT Rights organization LGL
Monika Antanaitytė is a lawyer and the project manager at the National LGBT rights organization LGL. She obtained a Master’s degree in Law at Mykolas Romeris University, studied at Maastricht University, participated in ESBO ODIHR training, interned in Belgium, Germany, Japan and other countries. Monika Antanaitytė has been working in the field of human rights since 2013. She was a member of board of Coalition of Human Rights Organizations in 2017–2019 and joined LGBT activism in 2019.
Member of the Human Rights Committee of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania
Tomas Bičiūnas is a member of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party. In 2000 he graduated from Vilnius Pedagogical University, with a degree in geography. Later he graduated from the Lithuanian University of Law (now Mykolas Romeris University) with a degree in public administration. He worked as a geography teacher in Kėdainiai for several years and was a member of the Kėdainiai District Municipal Council. From 2020 he is a member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
Advisor at the Dept. of Illegal Activity Supervision of the State Labour Inspectorate
Gediminas Noreika is an advisor at the Dept. of Illegal Activity Supervision of the State Labour Inspectorate.
Member of the May 1st Trade Union
Vladislovas Žurba is a member of the May 1st Trade Union.
Lecturer, medical anthropologist at Dept. of Sociology of Vytautas Magnus University
Dr. Daiva Bartušienė is a lecturer and medical anthropologist at the Dept. of Sociology of Vytautas Magnus University. Currently, her research is focused on neuro-diversity, cultural psychiatry and related topics: the socio-cultural aspects of autism.
Special pedagogue, methodologist at Lower Secondary School
Svaja Venckienė is a special pedagogue, methodologist at Lower Secondary School. She conducts special initial assessment of students ‘needs, identifies the causes of learning difficulties, provides assistance during lessons, eliminates gaps in students’ knowledge, consults parents, educators, working teachers.
Chairman of Seimas Committee on Social Affairs and Labour
Mindaugas Lingė is the Chairman of the Committee on Social Affairs and Labour of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
Director of Lithuanian National Anti-Poverty Network
Aistė Adomavičienė is the Director of Lithuanian National Anti-Poverty Network.
Associate Professor, Department of Social Policy, Vilnius University
Associate Professor, Department of Social Policy, Vilnius University
Council member of the Lithuanian Human Rights Center
Dr. Laima Vaigė is a lecturer at the Örebro University in Sweden. She has defended two doctoral theses in Law: the first one about the combat of violence against women under international law (Mykolas Romeris University) and the second one about the recognition of same-sex marriage and partnership in Europe (Uppsala University). She is a feminist, an author of numerous academic and media articles concerning the prohibition of violence. She has worked for the NGOs both in Lithuania and Sweden and is a council member of the Lithuanian Human Rights Center.
Dalia Leinartė is a member and former chair of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a professor at Vytautas Magnus University and an affiliated member of Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.
Night Mayor of Vilnius
In 2015, Markas was elected to the Vilnius City Council and became the first non-Lithuanian citizen to swear to defend the Lithuanian Constitution. In the council, he initiated the municipality’s sexual harassment prevention policy, campaigned for minority rights, opposed hate speech, marched for LGBT equality, provided facilities for children’s daycare centers, and persuaded the city to establish a 24-hour harm reduction center in Vilnius Old Town. In 2018, Markas became known as the first night mayor of Vilnius and, after leaving Vilnius City Council in 2019, he founded the Vilnius Night Alliance, which advocates for better regulation and development of nightlife in Vilnius.
VMU Associate Professor and Senior Researcher, Assoc. Prof. at LCC International University
Ignas Kalpokas completed PhD studies in political science at the University of Nottingham (UK) in 2016. Since 2015, he has been working at Vytautas Magnus University, currently as an associate professor and senior researcher. Kalpokas also works as associated professor at the LCC International University and is a member of the Comittee for the Doctoral Studies in Communications at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University. Ignas Kalpokas did an internship at the University of Pavia (on scholarship from the Government of Italy) and Marymount University (on Fulbright scholarship). His main research priorities include the social impact of artificial intelligence theories, digital transformations, algorithmic governance and information security.
Researcher/Post-Doc at University of Siegen (Germany)
In 2020, Miglė Bareikytė acquired a PhD in cultural and media studies at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany), at the prestigious Cultures of Critique group funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). After completing her first MA studies at Vytautas Magnus University in the field of political science, she also acquired a second MA degree in communication at the Free University of Berlin. Since 2021, Bareikytė has been working as researcher/post-doc at the University of Siegen (Germany) and involved with the interdisciplinary project Organizing Human-Nonhuman Cooperation, in which she is analysing the impact of algorithmic systems on work processes and focusing on the explainability of algorithmic systems to their users as well as the possibility of critiquing them. Bareikytė participates frequently in international conferences and is also a member of Germany’s community of social sciences, stsing, as well as an alum of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung).
Member of the Seimas and Seimas Commitee on Health Affairs, former child psychiatrist
Linas Slušnys is a former child psychiatrist who is currently a member of the Seimas Committee on Health Affairs as well as the Commission of Suicide and Violence Prevention. He has been actively supporting children’s rights, the significance of children’s psychological state and school attendance’s impact on it. Linas Slušnys is also a member of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group who supports the necessity of testing in schools and wholesale vaccination against COVID-19.
Epidemiologist doctor at the Infectious Disease Management Division of the National Public Health Center.
Daiva Razmuvienė is an epidemiologist doctor at the Infectious Disease Management Division of the National Public Health Center.
Professor of the Institute of Public Law of the MRU Law School
Toma Birmontienė is a professor of the Institute of Public Law of the MRU Law School. In 2005–2014, she was a judge of the Constitutional Court. Toma Birmontienė’s scientific and professional priorities include constitutional law, human rights, and health law.
Judge of ECHR, Chief Researcher at Faculty of Law of Vilnius University
Since 2013, Prof. Dr. (HP) Egidijus Kūris has been a judge at the European Court of Human Rights and Chief Researcher at the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University. He was the first Director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science (IIRPS) at Vilnius University (1992–1999). Previously Egidijus Kūris was a judge (1999–2008) and chair (2002–2008) of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania. In 2005–2008, he chaired the Conference of European Constitutional Courts. Egidijus Kūris is an author of many scientific publications. His research and professional priorities are theory of law, constitutional law, and human rights.
Journalist and show host at LRT
Rūta Kupetytė is a journalist and show host at LRT.
Associate Professor at Vytautas Magnus University, head of the cultural research center
Jurga Jonutytė is an associate professor at Vytautas Magnus University and head of the cultural research center. She teaches philosophy and researches the concept of disability. Jurga Jonutytė is also a co-author of the monograph “Snakes’ Feet: The Concept of Disability in Life Stories”.
Legal assistant, doctoral student at Vytautas Magnus University
Julija Kalpokienė is a legal assistant and doctoral student at Vytautas Magnus University. Her research priorities include intellectual property law and technology law, privacy, data security, resolution of disputes, and human rights. Julija is a lecturer at VMU (technology law) and Kazimieras Simonavičius University (consumer law). She also provides training on privacy and intellectual property. Since 2019, Kalpokienė has been Deputy Chair of Kaunas Division at the Lithuanian Young Bar Association. Currently she is doing an internship at the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network in Paris as part of the Young Professional program, where she is examining issues of internet regulation and jurisdiction.
Minister of Social Security and Labour of Lithuania
Monika Navickienė is the Minister of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania. Since 2011, she has been a member of the political party Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD). In 2012 she was the coordinator of the HU-LCD’s election campaign to the Seimas and an assistant of a Seimas member. Since 2013, Navickienė is the executive secretary of HU-LCD and a member of HU-LCD Presidium and Council. From 2016, she was the HU-LCD’s candidate to the position of the Minister of Social Security and Labour. She has been elected to the Seimas in 2016 and 2020.
Professor at the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University
Vytautas Mizaras is a professor at the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University, former Chairman of the Council of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, and a member of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Commission of the Republic of Lithuania. In 2021, he was appointed a judge of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania.
Freelance human rights educator
Agnė holds a degree of Bachelor of Social Sciences (SciencesPo Paris Institute of Political Science) and specializes in history and transatlantic relations. She also studied at McGill University in Canada. In 2019–2021, Agnė worked at the Lithuanian Center for Human Rights as a project manager and educator. Currently, she is a freelance human rights educator.
Analyst at Neurotechnology, board member at AI Association of Lithuania
Linas Petkevičius is an analyst at Neurotechnology and a board member at the Artificial Intelligence Association of Lithuania. Neurotechnology is a company of biometrics and artificial intelligence technologies which also creates solutions of autonomous robotics. Apart from the developed AI solutions, it also works on robotic and multi-robotic platforms and their management systems for work in enclosed spaces. Linas’ activities are not limited to work in the industry: in 2020, he completed his doctoral studies and is currently lecturing and working on research at Vilnius University.
Mother of two
Živilė Bagdonavičiūtė is a mother of two. She has had a disability from the age of two due to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis with eye damage. “Growing up, I wanted to be physically able to do what my peers were doing, but the constant tiring pain didn’t allow me,” says Živilė. “Later, I realized that I could do everything in some other way. I really wanted to be a mom. Now I live this dream by raising 16 and 9 year old children. Everything is possible if you go in the desired direction.”
Psychologist, human rights activist
Aurelija Auškalnytė is a psychologist, human rights activist. She is an expert working in the non-governmental sector with human rights issues: the right to mental health, the rights of people with disabilities, gender equality, etc. Activities in different fields allow her to see unexpected intersections. Currently, Aurelija Auškalnytė is involved in empowerment activities for women with disabilities at the Center for Equality Advancement.
Project manager of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute
Goda Jurevičiūtė is the project manager of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute. She mainly works on projects related to the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech. Jurevičiūtė conducts research, as well as organises and leads trainings, conferences and seminars on this topic. She also belongs to the Working Group for Promoting an Effective Response to Hate Crimes and Hate Speech in Lithuania, which was established under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania.
Psychologist at Child Line, supervisor, training manager
Dr. Jurgita Smiltė Jasiulionė is a psychologist at Vaikų Linija (Child Line) – a help line which provides emotional support to children, one of the initiators of the anti-bullying campaign Be Patyčių, and training manager at the Friends program for the prevention of bullying and other degrading behavior. For more than 15 years, she has been studying the issues of bullying and other derogatory behavior between children and adolescents, leading seminars and training on the prevention of bullying and derogatory behavior for employees of educational institutions and parents.
Chairman of the Criminal Division of Supreme Court of Lithuania, judge
Aurelijus Gutauskas is the chairman of the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, a judge and professor at the Faculty of Law at Vilnius University. He has almost 25 years of scientific-pedagogical experience in teaching various courses on criminal law and conducting trainings in Lithuanian and foreign universities, as well as other institutions. At present, he combines scientific activities with the practical work of a judge in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Lithuania, where he examines criminal cases. He has completed traineeships and advanced training courses in various foreign countries.
Aurelijus Gutauskas’ main areas of interest are the problems of application of national and international criminal and criminal procedure law. He has published over 50 scientific articles, textbooks and monographs (alone and with co-authors) in Lithuanian and other languages on relevant topics of criminal justice.
Legal expert and project manager at Lithuanian Center for Human Rights
Monika Guliakaitė is a member of the European Network of Non-Discrimination Law Experts. At the Lithuanian Center for Human Rights, she manages projects and participates in advocacy activities. Monika holds a Master’s degree in Law from Vilnius University and focuses on non-discrimination, hate crime and hate speech.
Deputy Police Commissioner General
Arūnas Paulauskas is a Deputy Police Commissioner General. He has a master’s degree in law, and in 2018 he completed a CEPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training) master programme. He has been in the police service since 1993. Currently, A. Paulauskas is responsible for organizing the implementation of public policing, criminal policing and pre-trial investigation in the police system.
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania
Mantas Adomėnas is the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.
Professor, Dean of Faculty of Law at Vytautas Magnus University
Prof. Dainius Žalimas is the Dean of the Faculty of Law at Vytautas Magnus University. In 2014–2021, he was the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania. Dainius Žalimas is a professor and holds a PhD in Social Sciences in the field of law. The main areas of his scientific interest include international law and constitutional law. Dainius Žalimas held the positions of the legal adviser to the Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Lithuania and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. He is the author of several books and numerous articles dealing with the issues of public international law and constitutional law. Although he has earned numerous awards of the Republic of Lithuania and foreign states, he is mostly proud of the distinction of honor “Defender of the Lithuanian Parliament” from the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union for taking part in the defense of the Supreme Council (Reconstituent Seimas) of the Republic of Lithuania against the Soviet aggression in January–August 1991. Dainius Žalimas adheres to the principle that the essence of the whole philosophy of human rights is the freedom not to be afraid.
TV show host, journalist
Daiva Žeimytė-Bilienė is a journalist, host of DELFI.lt current affairs programs. He has previously worked for Lrytas TV, leading discussion shows, political debates and working with other similar journalistic genres. D. Žeimytė – Bilienė has repeatedly spoken about socially sensitive issues such as ensuring the rights of people with disabilities, participated in social campaigns aimed at drawing attention to violence against women and children.
Journalist at the Lithuanian National Radio and Television
Rasa Tapinienė is a journalist at the Lithuanian National Radio and Television.
Director of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute
Prof. Dr. Dainius Pūras is Director of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, former member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Gender equality expert at the Center for Equality Advancement
Margarita Jankauskaitė is an expert of the Center for Equality Advancement, doctor of Humanities, who has been working in the field of gender equality and discrimination prevention for more than 15 years. She conducts trainings, seminars, lectures for various target groups in Lithuania and abroad on gender mainstreaming, prevention of violence against women, and women’s representation. In 2019, Margarita was awarded the Medal of the Order of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas for promoting human rights, democratic values, social exclusion and the reduction of domestic violence against women.
Head of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen‘s Office
Vytautas Valentinavičius is the Head of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania, PhD student in Political science at Kaunas University of Technology, and a junior researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. He was awarded Cum Laude Master’s degree in Political Science by Vilnius University’s Institute of International Relations and Political Science. He has been working in the field of human rights protection for 15 years, has been a member of the board of several non-governmental organizations, and contributed to the formation and activities of the Human Rights Coalition (since 2014). Vytautas Valentinavičius also writes op-eds on various topics related to human rights.
Head of Lithuanian Human Rights Center
Jūratė Juškaitė is the Head of the Lithuanian Human Rights Center.
Ombudsman for the Protection of the Rights of the Child of the Republic of Lithuania
Edita Žiobienė is the Ombudsman for the Protection of the Rights of the Child of the Republic of Lithuania. Previously, she headed the Lithuanian Center for Human Rights, was an associate professor at the Department of Constitutional Law of the Faculty of Law of Mykolas Romeris University and taught at the Institute of Law of Vytautas Magnus University.
Head of the Center Against Human Trafficking and Exploitation
Kristina Mišinienė has been engaged in the support of victims of human trafficking, prostitution and sexual violence for 20 years. Currently she is the Head of the Center Against Human Trafficking and Exploitation.
Member of Seimas of Lithuania, Chair of Seimas Committee on Human Rights, LGBT activist
Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius is a member of the Seimas of Lithuania, Chair of the Seimas Committee on Human Rights, a politician and lawyer, an LGBT activist, former member of Vilnius City Council, Head of the Equal Opportunities Mainstreaming Division at the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. He is also one of the founders and board members of the political party Laisvės Partija (Freedom Party).
Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen is the Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
Professor at VMU Dept. of Social Work, Vice-Chair of UN Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Professor at the Department of Social Work, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania , Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations, and Chairperson of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO.
Editor-in-chief of lrt.lt
Mindaugas Jackevičius is the editor-in-chief of lrt.lt and the anchor of the television show “Topic of the Day” (Lith. “Dienos tema”) at the Lithuanian national television and the radio section “LRT News Studio” (Lith. “LRT aktualijų studija”) at the Lithuanian national radio. He specializes in the topics of politics, emigration, human rights, social policy and education.
Chair of the Lithuanian Trade Union Alliance
Audrius Cuzanauskas, the chair of the Lithuanian Trade Union Alliance, represents his members in defending the professional, labor, economic, social rights and interests of the working people.
11.15 – 11.45 Coffee break
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break