Deputy Mayor Steve Koch welcomed Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius to Chicago on Tuesday, October 14, 2014. Foreign Minister Linkevičius and Deputy Mayor Koch met to discuss strengthening ties between Chicago and Lithuania in business and community. Deputy Mayor Koch congratulated Foreign Minister Linkevicius and Consul General Marijus Gudynas on the 90th anniversary of the Lithuanian Consulate in Chicago.
“I welcome Foreign Minister Linkevičius to the Chicago and am pleased to discuss efforts to strengthen the city’s cultural and economic ties with Lithuania,” said Deputy Mayor Koch. “This partnership fuels bilateral economic development and adds to Chicago’s place as a center of the global economy. Chicago is proud to include Lithuanians as part of its diverse community and history and we look forward to many further interactions and opportunities.”
Lithuania and Chicago share close economic ties with ten Chicago and Chicago area-based companies in Lithuania totaling around $48 million in trade. Since 2011, there has been an 82 percent increase in exports to Lithuania from Chicago and a 72 percent increase in imports from Lithuania to Chicago.
Chicago and Lithuania’s economic success is only strengthened by their deep historical and cultural links but also bolstered by a longstanding sister city relationship between the city of Vilnius and Chicago. Nicknamed “Little Lithuania,” Chicago is home to the most people of Lithuanian descent anywhere in the world outside of Lithuania. The Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture and the only Lithuanian language daily published abroad, the Draugas newspaper, are located in Chicago.
In November 2013, due to the outstanding dedication to advancing bilateral relations between Chicago and Vilnius, Mayor Rahm Emanuel received the Lithuanian Diplomacy Star from Ambassador Žygimantas Pavilionis which was conferred by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Photo Caption: Consul General of Lithuania in Chicago, Mr. Marijus Gudynas; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Mr. Linas Linkevičius; and Deputy Mayor of Chicago, Mr. Steve Koch