Festival of discussions “Būtent!” (“Makes Sense!”) is an annual assembly in a cosy open-air area of Birštonas with a festival-type atmosphere, where people from political, business, academic, cultural and non-governmental organisations discuss important topics for the development of the state, share ideas and forge new collaborations.
The initiative to hold discussion festival “Make sense!“ in Lithuania was inspired by the examples of the Scandinavian and Baltic countries: “Almadalen” discussion forum in Sweden , „Arvamusfestival“ in Estonia, “Arendalsuka”in Norway, and „Lampa“ in Latvia. The whole concept of a Democracy festival is closely linked to Nordic countries and traditions. The tradition of the democracy festivals can be traced back to 1968 when Olof Palme, Sweden’s minister of education at the time, held a speech standing in the back of a flatbed truck. The truck was parked by Almedalen park and several hundred people gathered to listen. Today democracy festivals are a vital part of Nordic identity.
“Būtent!” was initiated in 2017 by Lithuanian non-governmental body “Visos idėjos”, which was established in the same year with the goal of being the founder of the Lithuanian Democracy Festival. In 2017, the festival was launched together with the Lithuanian Open Society Foundation, the British Council, Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania and Swedbank.
One of the goals of the event is to demonstrate that important decisions are inseparable from the diversity of viewpoints and the inclusion of different groups of society in their consideration. Last year the organizers of the festival created an open debate space that contributes to the development of a democratic, united and progressive society, develops a culture of discussion and listening, tolerance for a different opinion or attitude.
About 3000 participants attended at the first festival. There were in total 63 discussions organised.
At the 2017 event, the Nordic Council of Ministers Office organized the following topics:
In 2018 approximately 6000 people visited “Būtent!” festival. During festival’s main content program 72 discussions were implemented in 8 festival spaces. Discussions and other forms of events also took place in partners’ spaces. There were more than 300 speakers and discussion moderators.
At the 2018 event, the Nordic Council of Ministers Office organized the following topics for the festival:
This year the Nordic Council of Ministers office in Lithuania are going to actively contribute to “Būtent!” successful implementation both financially and by taking part in topics organisation. As well as at the previous events, the Nordic Council of Ministers office in Lithuania will raise topics and issues that are currently relevant for the development of the state. With a help by invited experts from the Nordic countries those topics will be delivered referring to the good experience of the Nordic countries.
For more information about “Būtent!”, visit official webpage.