Adamkus, Valdas

Born: Nov 03, 1926 AD
Currently alive, at 88 years of age.

Nationality: Lithuanian
Categories: Presidents

1926 - Adamkus was born to a Roman Catholic family in Kaunas on November 3, 1926.


1946 - As a young man Adamkus joined the underground against the Soviets. During World War II, his family escaped to Germany from the Soviet occupation.


1949 - He attended the University of Munich in Germany before emigrating to the United States.


1950 - Fluent in five languages - Lithuanian, Polish, English, Russian and German - he served as a senior non-commissioned officer with the 5th Army Reserve's military intelligence unit.


1960 - After arriving in Chicago, he also worked in an automobile factory and as a draftsman. Adamkus graduated as a civil engineer from the Illinois Institute of Technology. While a student in Illinois, Adamkus, together with other Lithuanian Americans, collected about 40,000 signatures and petitioned the United States Government to intervene in the ongoing deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia conducted by the Soviets.


1970 - Adamkus joined the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its inception.


1981 - Appointed regional administrator by President Ronald Reagan. He was responsible for all air, water, hazardous waste, and other pollution control programs in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.


1985 - President Reagan presented him with the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award - the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civil servant.


1998 -  Soon after his decision to run for presidency in 1998, he faced a legal battle in the Lithuanian courts, as doubts arose whether Adamkus was eligible to run for presidency due to the length of time he had spent abroad and the possibility that he might not meet minimum residency requirements. However, the court resolved the case in Adamkus' favor and no other obstacles remained other than his U.S. citizenship, which he officially renounced in the American Embassy in Vilnius. He was elected as President of Lithuania in 1998, serving from then until 2003, when he ran for re-election, but was defeated unexpectedly by populist Rolandas Paksas. He returned to politics as surprisingly as he had left, after the presidential scandal of 2003/2004, when his former rival Paksas became the first European head of state to be impeached and removed from office. Adamkus ran for the presidency again and was re-elected.


2004 - Under the presidency of Valdas Adamkus, Lithuania actively promoted democracy in the formerly Soviet Eastern European and Asian nations. Valdas Adamkus and his Estonian counterpart Arnold Rüütel rejected an invitation to participate in a commemorative celebration of the end of World War II in Europe in 2005. President Adamkus expressed the view that the war's end, in Lithuania, marked the beginning of a fifty-year Soviet occupation and repression. In response, on July 22, the United States Congress unanimously passed a resolution that Russia should "issue a clear and unambiguous statement of admission and condemnation of the illegal occupation and annexation by the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991 of the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania,", but Russia refused. President Adamkus supported an active dialogue between European Union member states and those former Soviet republics such as Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova, that are actively seeking membership in the EU. He expressed support for these candidate members during the Community of Democratic Choice in 2005, at the Vilnius Conference 2006, and on several other occasions.

Page last updated: 11:32am, 07th Nov '06
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