On Friday, 22 October, the annual Baltic Assembly (BA) Prizes for Literature, the Arts and Science were awarded. The Prize for Science was awarded to academician Jānis Stradiņš (Latvia), the Prize for the Arts to artist and sculptor Antanas Žukauskas (Lithuania), and the Prize for Literature to poet and prose writer Ene Mihkelson (Estonia). The Prizes were awarded in Riga as part of the 29th Session of the Baltic Assembly.“The initial idea for establishing the Baltic Assembly Prizes was rooted in the desire to facilitate cooperation among our countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – in the field of culture, to strengthen cultural values and to encourage the exchange of news about achievements in culture. Nowadays, when it is easy to lose one’s identity by being swept up in the massive current of globalisation and multi-culturalism, we want, with the help of these prizes, to maintain and strengthen our own cultural traditions and to acknowledge our countries’ achievements in the arts, literature and science,” emphasised Mrs. Ērika Zommere, President of the Baltic Assembly.Members of the Joint Judging Committee of the BA Prize were almost unanimous in their opinion that Jānis Stradiņš is the most suitable candidate for the prize in science. They had already previously emphasised that J. Stradiņš has earned this prize for his scrupulous attitude towards scientific truth. Members of the Joint Judging Committee acknowledged that his monograph is a unique work which from a historical perspective reflects such a long period of Latvia’s historical road. The 2010 BA Prize for the Arts was awarded to Antanas Žukauskas, a Lithuanian artist and sculptor, for professionally communicating in sculpture values of the past, for striking the right balance between the modern and the traditional, and for promoting Baltic identity in the world. Members of the Joint Judging Committee pointed out that his works have played a decisive role in creating symbols of Lithuania’s independence. He has created not only the design of litas, the national currency of Lithuania, but also the design of several collectible coins. His works are exhibited in Lithuanian museums, as well as other European museums, famous art museums, galleries and churches. The winner of this year’s Prize for Literature is Ene Mihkelson, an Estonian poet and prose writer who received the prize for her volume of collected poems Torn. Members of the Joint Judging Committee acknowledged that her works are understandable to everybody, as confirmed by the fact that they have been translated not only into English and German but also into Swedish and Finnish languages. The annual BA Prize was established in 1994 to promote the development of literature, the arts and science in the Baltic States and to recognise the most distinguished achievements in these fields. The amount of each prize is EUR 5,000.The other nominees for BA Prize of this year were as follows:in literature:
• Sigitas Parulskis (Lithuania), poet, prose writer, essayist, playwright, translator and literary critic, nominated for his volume of poetry Temptations of an Elderly Man (2009) and the novel Murmanti siena (The Murmuring Wall, 2008);
• Edvīns Raups (Latvia), poet, nominated for his volume of poetry Putn’ (Bird’, 2008);in the arts:
• Andris Nelsons (Latvia), conductor, nominated for his outstanding achievements in promoting the performing arts and creating a positive image of Latvia in the world;
• Tõnis Saadoja (Estonia), painter, nominated for his artistic achievements in integrating the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian artistic environment;in science:
• Zenonas Butkus (Lithuania), professor, nominated for his collection of historical documents The Idea and Practice of the Unity of the Baltic States in 1918-1940: A Collection of Documents;
• Gabrielle Hogan-Brun, Uldis Ozoliņš, Meilute Ramoniene, Mart Rannut, and Ina Druviete nominated for the monograph Language Politics and Practices in the Baltic States (2009) – an overview of the language situation in the Baltic States which examines the linguistic, political and social consequences of language policy both locally and internationally.
The Baltic Assembly is an interparliamentary cooperation organisation of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania established for coordinating the Baltic States' cooperation on the parliamentary level, discussing issues and projects of mutual interest and expressing a common position on political, economic, social and cultural issues on the EU and international level. The Baltic Assembly consists of national delegations – 12 to 20 members from each country’s parliament.
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