Come and take part in Nordic discussions at festival “Būtent!”


On 6-7 September, discussion festival “Būtent!” will take place in Birštonas for the third time. This year the festival will host a discussion stage “Nordic Lithuania” with special program for Nordic discussions. Discussions and other activities in this space are presented by Nordic institutions, Nordic embassies and chambers of commerce in Lithuania.

Nordic program is a special addition to festival’s main agenda which will invite visitors to the space “Nordic Lithuania” to discuss common Nordic and Lithuanian societal, social and economic issues. The discussion space will be open for two days and will invite visitors to communicate, share their ideas, raise questions and get to know each other.

Nordic discussions at festival “Būtent“:

Friday, 6th September:

17.00-18.00 Discussion “Technology and Community: Who Serves Whom?” (in English)
18:30-19:30 Discussion “Nordic Leadership: how to work with Vikings?” (in English)

Saturday, 7th September:

12.30-13:30 Discussion “Happy childhood in the Nordic countries. When in Lithuania?” (in English)
16:00-17:00 Discussion “Vision of sustainable city in 2050” (in English)

Discussion “Technology and Community: Who Serves Whom?” will invite to discuss the importance of social ties in the world of technology. Community has always been a powerful driver of global progress. However, today the main force driving the progress is no longer a community, but rapidly evolving technologies. Is it true that technologies can be developed separately from communities and what links these two seemingly opposing areas? Will communities become a driving force for technology development, or will technologies fundamentally change the relevance of community building? Discussion participants are bishop Gintaras Grušas, co-founder and programme director of African research and consultancy platform “AfriKo” Eugenija Kovaliova, partner at „We Do Democracy” and chair of the International Democracy Festivals Association Zakia Elvang and Women Go Tech community manager Patricija Giniotytė. Discussion will be moderated by Žydrūnė Vitaitė, co-founder of “Women Go Tech” programme.

Discussion “Nordic Leadership: how to work with Vikings?” will concentrate on a phenomenon which in the world of management has made a name for itself: Nordic leadership. We will learn about the nature of Nordic leadership and hear from top managers what challenges they face implementing new operational management principles. Discussion participants:Drector at Telia Lietuva Dan Strömberg, rector of ISM University of Management and Economics Dalius Misiūnas, press officer at Fortum Andrius Kasperavičius and general manager at Norwegian accounting service center “NORIAN Accounting” Lina Maroščikienė.

Discussion “Happy childhood in the Nordic countries. When in Lithuania?” raises the question whether Lithuania is a good place for children and youth to grow. Nordic politicians presented a strategy which aims to make the Nordic countries the best place for kids and young people and thus it became a political agenda. What is needed to ensure that Lithuania’s children feel healthy and content? What comparative studies show about their well-being and tendencies? Participants who will discuss these questions include Journalist Ruslanas Iržikevičius, director of Democracy school Nerijus Buivydas, chief researcher at Health Research Institute of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kastytis Šmigelskas, program director at UNICEF Finland Inka Hetemäki and coordinator of Youth Policy of Lithuanian Students’ Union Greta Zaburaitė.

Discussion “Vision of sustainable city in 2050” will focus on how we can secure quality of our living environment in our world and reconcile three aspects of sustainable urban development – viable economy, inclusive social sphere, and sustainable environment? Can the Nordic and Baltic region become an example of innovative urban planning around the world? Speakers in this discussion are chief architect of Sweden Helena Bjarnegård, special adviser at Department of Environment and Transport, City of Oslo, Morten Nordskag, former Vice-Minister of Environment of Lithuania, community activist and lawyer Rėda Brandišauskienė and architect-urbanist Algimantas Varpučanskis.

Discussion festival “Būtent!“ belongs to a Nordic tradition of open democracy festivals. In 2019, the festival joined forces with other democracy festivals in the Nordic countries, the Baltic region and Europe to establish the International Democracy Festivals Association. Each festival, organized in 9 different countries, works as a platform for democratic discussion between the civil society, business, politics, NGOs, science, culture and media. The purpose of the newly established association is to strengthen these events in each country, help other countries willing to initiate such events and unite efforts as a catalyzer of democratic changes.

As in the past years, visitors in Birštonas will be able to join more than 70 hours of enriching discussions and events, many interesting meetings and heartfelt conversations; a special programme will be prepared for families and children. It is aimed that the visitors would not only listen to and engage in discussions but would also spend time in a comfortable and meaningful way.

One of the goals of the discussion festival “Būtent!“ is to show that important decisions cannot be made without including a diversity of opinions and various community groups. High-level discussion culture helps society to agree on country‘s development priorities and determines higher quality decisions. This festival cherishes an open space for discussions in Lithuania and contributes to creation of a democratic, united and progressive society, fosters a culture of discussions and listening as well as respect for others‘ opinions and views.

Discussion space “Nordic Lithuania” is co-initiated by Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania, embassies of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland in Lithuania and Nordic chambers of commerce in Lithuania.