Viewing cable 05VILNIUS1328

05VILNIUS13282005-12-22 15:03:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
Ref:  State 222516 
1.Summary:  Post has stretched its resources for 
cultural programming by routinely partnering with private 
entities to co-sponsor programs.  We rely on, and are 
grateful for, Washington-funded cultural programs to bring 
U.S. performers to Lithuania.  Our annual Jazz Night, in 
particular, attracts cabinet ministers and other important 
contacts, both earning us good will and creating an 
opportunity for high-level discussion of serious issues. 
Lithuanians love jazz and basketball.  We encourage 
continued funding for regional jazz programs and an 
increase in sports programming -- especially basketball. 
Most of all, we request Washington assistance in 
professionally producing a short video aimed at high 
school audiences to advertise the benefits of study and 
tourism in the US  such a video could form the basis of 
public diplomacy outreach to youth audiences throughout 
Europe and beyond at relatively low cost.  End Summary. 
2.Lithuanians love movies, basketball, and jazz--all of 
whose roots are American.  Cultural and sports programming 
is a great way to reach out to younger Lithuanians who are 
increasingly turning to other EU member states for 
educational, work, and tourism opportunities.  Cultural 
and sports programming also provides a means to present a 
more multidimensional image of America and Americans than 
media and news affords.  The GOL is a close ally in the 
GWOT, and our military cooperation is a paramount 
dimension of our bilateral relationship.  The image of our 
soldiers fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with Lithuanians is 
powerful.  Americans are not only soldiers, however and it 
is important that Lithuanians be able to call up other 
images of American culture and values.  Bringing more 
sports and cultural events here will help Lithuanians see 
a well-rounded picture of Americans. 
3.We have used cultural events to promote the 
protection of IPR as well as to bring top contacts 
together to enjoy an evening of basketball or jazz in 
settings that allowed for relaxed discussions over other 
key objectives.  In some cases the payoff has been direct, 
in others developmental. 
4.We partnered with the Motion Picture Association of 
America (MPAA) and the largest chain of movie theaters in 
Lithuania to hold a movie premier in Lithuania.  The MPAA 
representative brought the movie, the theater provided the 
venue, and the Embassy provided the high-level guest list. 
We invited media to cover the opening remarks of the MPAA, 
government official, and an industry representative, all 
of whom focused on protecting intellectual property so 
that people will continue to create high-quality films. 
5.The Marlon Jordan Jazz quartet visit to Lithuania in 
November is a great example of culture supporting other 
MPP goals.  The quartet performed, impromptu, at a 
nightclub in the capital and went way "outside the 
beltway" to Siauliai, a northwestern city in which USAF 
pilots were deployed to perform an air policing mission. 
The Ambassador delivered introductory remarks before the 
performance to introduce some of the airmen and to raise 
awareness of the importance of NATO's role in collective 
6.Earlier the same day, the Ambassador opened 
Lithuania's first American Corner in Siauliai with a 
speech emphasizing links to America as a way to better 
mutual understanding.  He also spoke about the importance 
of our bilateral relations while boosting support for the 
GOL's participation in OIF and OEF.  In a subsequent 
nationally televised interview, the PAO echoed the 
Ambassador's points from Siauliai.  The Jordans 
participated in the broadcast as true cultural 
ambassadors, discussing their experiences during hurricane 
Katrina and thanking Lithuania for its offer of support to 
relief efforts. 
7.Post could not have afforded to bring the Jordan 
quartet to Lithuania -- but, in retrospect, we could not 
afford not to bring them.  We gained immensely from the 
event and strongly recommend making more Jazz performance 
groups available on a regional basis.  Our costs for the 
event were limited since we partnered with the 
Philharmonic Hall for a venue, instruments, and other 
logistical requirements. 
8.Last year's visit of the Harlem Gospel Choir (HGC) to 
typifies our general method of partnering to bring groups 
to Vilnius.  We helped fund the ticket of one of the 13 
members of the traveling choir.  An organizer obtained 
funding from the city and others to help finance the 
program, and we worked with the city to use an outdoor 
venue in the middle of the old town for the performance. 
The city also loaned a sound system.  When the choir 
arrived, the Ambassador held a reception for the group to 
which he invited many high-level contacts who were 
delighted to listen to a short performance by the choir. 
The main event outside City Hall attracted thousands and 
was a huge success -- so much so that a commercial concert 
producer has brought the HGC back to Lithuania for a 
three-concert tour in December.  We used this same model 
to bring the Johnny Thompson singers to Lithuania, and 
they, too, returned to Lithuania on invitation without our 
9.Lithuania has the most foreign-born NBA players per 
capita and Lithuanians love the sport.  Any basketball- 
related event that we can support would be a big plus 
here.  This is the type of event that post cannot afford, 
but would pay big dividends with youth, politicians, and 
the media.  One of the most successful sports programs we 
organized focused on the Olympics.  In cooperation with a 
Lithuanian former NBA player who owns a sports bar, the 
Ambassador hosted a reception to watch the U.S. and 
Lithuanian Olympic basketball teams play a preliminary- 
round game.  The event drew a packed audience and included 
a number of ministers.  The Ambassador promoted U.S. wines 
in a symbolic bet with the president over the contest as 
mayors of competing cities do in the U.S.  CNN picked up 
the wager and put it on its tickertape, bringing added 
attention to the match (and the American wine). 
10.We have a very receptive audience in Lithuania and we 
have used almost every type of programming effectively 
here.  The only obstacle to more programming is the lack 
of resources.  Still, we have managed to counter that with 
co-sponsoring events or using the public space in our 
Embassy to host some events.  There is precious little 
more we can do on the partnering front, but we will look 
to.  We look forward to hearing about best practices at 
other posts and new ideas this review of State's cultural 
programs generates. 
11.If we did have more funding for cultural activities, 
we would invite basketball players to come to Lithuania to 
play and/or hold youth clinics.  We would also bring more 
live performers to Lithuania and include TV coverage of 
their visit.  During a modern dance festival in 2004, the 
PAO observed a group of 250 university students 
electrified by a dance company out of San Francisco whose 
performance was captivating.  We tried to get them to come 
out on a regionally funded basis, but were not successful 
due to lack of funds. 
12.A recent poll we took in Lithuania shows that, 
despite all the traveling embassy officers do, a majority 
of Lithuanians have never met an American.  Live 
performances outside the capital will generate goodwill 
with people with whom we have had less contact, help bring 
more people in contact with our culture, and give them a 
chance to meet a real live American. 
13.Youth outreach is high on our list of priorities and 
we have developed a high school stump speech with 
accompanying multi-media presentation focused on study and 
tourism opportunities in America that allows us to reach 
out to more schools with a more targeted message.  The 
multimedia presentation is currently in PowerPoint format 
with narration.  We would like to be able to show a 
higher-quality, digital video presentation with music to 
have a stronger impact in attracting youth and teachers to 
America.  We believe Washington-provided video materials 
and soundtracks could realize cost-savings for posts 
14.We have had some success placing videos on U.S. 
subject with regional TV stations in need of broadcast 
material.  We would like to see the Washington-based film 
library (with broadcast rights) increase if possible.  We 
think films on the history of Jazz, the civil rights 
movement, other historical milestones (the space program), 
national parks, or biographies of famous Americans can be 
used to help garner goodwill with the regional media and, 
at the same time, expose viewers to U.S. content. 
15.Lithuanians are onboard with us in the GWOT.  The GOL 
has supported us with contributions not only in OEF and 
OIF but in support of transformation in Belarus and 
strengthening democracy in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. 
Many adults remember our policy of non-recognition of the 
Soviet annexation of the Baltic states, and the million- 
strong Lithuanian-American community helps to maintain 
bilateral ties.  Yet, as EU membership naturally draws 
Lithuanians into greater routine cooperation with the rest 
of Europe, we face the challenge of keeping the U.S. 
relevant to Lithuanian youth.  Cultural and sports 
programming is an essential way to show the diversity, 
richness and relevance of the USA to the next generation 
of Lithuanians.