The 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Military Academy of Lithuania

The 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Military Academy of Lithuania

2017 06 16

On 16 June, The General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment. The celebration reviewed the history of the Academy and paid respect to the community members who contributed to its establishment and development.
 
The anniversary celebration was honoured by the presence of Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Raimundas Karoblis, Minister of National Defence, Archbishop Gintaras Grušas, Apostolic Administrator of the Military Ordinariate of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and Vilnius Metropolitan Archbishop, authorities of the Ministry of National Defence and Lithuanian Armed Forces, university rectors, foreign representatives and the community of the Academy.
 
‘During the period of 25 years, the Academy has prepared 23 classes of trustworthy officers proving the military profession is worthy of pride. The Academy should make its students proud to study at the school named after the Lithuanian partisans’ leader. We need more such officers and people the state could rely on,’ said the President.
 
‘You should be proud to be the creators of the Lithuanian Armed Forces,’ addressed the community the Minister of National Defence. ‘The armed forces need well-trained, motivated and highly-qualified officers, whereas Lithuania needs a modern school of higher military education competitive with the most popular schools of higher education. I wish the Military Academy of Lithuania to keep taking on new challenges in the fields of science and studies. However, most importantly, I wish you to be the cradle of patriotism fostering love for the Homeland, respect for the past and duty for the better future of Lithuania.’
 
Brigadier General Algis Vaičeliūnas, Commandant of the Military Academy of Lithuania, expressed pride in the Academy as it is an institution of leaders, patriots and people of free will training officers of Western mentality and leadership and broad thinking. ‘The Academy develops leadership qualities, such as duty, honour, loyalty, self-sacrifice for the country, teamwork and loyalty to the civil authorities,’ said the Commandant. He assured that the Academy will keep seeking for greater achievements, while every member of the community will keep striving to surpass themselves.
 
‘The General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania will continue heading forward just as it has during the past 25 years. We are not afraid of changes and possible mistakes as only they enable us to reach new heights and improve further. We will continue encouraging the youth to study warfare and teach them how to learn, not just train them,’ assured the Commandant.
 
Minister Karoblis and Commandant Brigadier General Vaičeliūnas awarded nominal gifts and commendations to the most experienced employees of the Academy for their faithful service.
 
The festive mood of the celebration was boosted by the cadet choir Kariūnas, existing for 22 years at the Academy, rock band Vytis, performers of the International Classical Music Festival Returns and the big band of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces. The guests admired the exhibition of the historic photographs of the Academy.
 
Exclusive school of higher education
 
The General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania is the only school of higher education in Lithuania providing university and military education and training officers leaders. The mission of the Academy is to prepare motivated and competent officers for the Lithuanian Armed Forces capable of commanding the units in the times of war and peace. The training involves the development of leadership qualities and intelligence by providing professional knowledge and practical skills necessary for a commander. Upon the successful completion of the Academy, graduates are commissioned as lieutenants; they acquire Platoon Commander Qualification and Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration or Political Science. All graduates enter professional military service.
 
Since the very first day of studies, cadets are taught to be active and dutiful. They have to put in a considerable deal of effort during field exercises, concentrate and control a situation when commanding platoons and use intelligence and creativity when studying theoretical subjects. Cadets are taught by highly-qualified lecturers and military instructors having professional experience of international operations.
 
During the studies, cadets participate in cultural, sports and social activities. They sing in a cadet choir Kariūnas and attend dance classes. To improve physical fitness, cadets can undertake different types of sporting activities, whereas those concerned about their military skills can join the Scout Club.
 
The Academy offers military English and professional development courses for Lithuanian and foreign officers from the Baltic States, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, etc.
 
According to the Commandant, the Academy implements NATO and Partnership for Peace countries’ projects and adapts their teaching modules used over the years. ‘We are glad to be a NATO military training institution sharing its experience with other countries and teaching foreign officers,’ said the Commandant.
 
The Academy continually carries out scientific researches; lecturers and researchers write monographs, scientific studies, dictionaries, textbooks, teaching and methodological materials and journals.
 
‘The helm of the Academy is in control of rather young and well-educated youths’ hands. I would like to sincerely thank you for your invaluable work, devotion and dedication keeping in step with the reforms carried out at the Academy. Also, thank you for very well conducted cadet studies shaping professional knowledge and fostering human values,’ said Brigadier General Vaičeliūnas.
 
Key facts and figures
 
16 June 1992: the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approves the establishment of the National Defence School under the resolution of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania. It is the official date of establishment of the Academy.
 
13 July 1992: the Minister of National Defence signs the order on the establishment of the National Defence School. It becomes a structural unit of the National Defence System and is subordinate to the Ministry of National Defence. The aim of the School is to prepare national defence specialists.
 
30 August 1992: the School is awarded a combat flag having an inscription embroidered with golden threads saying Our Weapon, Our Education – for Our Homeland Lithuania.
 
18 January 1994: upon the decision of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the School is reorganized into the Military Academy of Lithuania.
 
20 November 1998: by the order of the Minister of National Defence, the Military Academy of Lithuania is given the name of partisan General Jonas Žemaitis.
 
20 July 1994: the first class of 111 officers graduates from the Academy.
 
1995: revived a pre-war commissioning tradition when the President touches a graduate’s shoulder with a sword and says ‘You shall not draw the sword without a cause nor shall you sheathe it without honour’. In 2009, it became the motto of the Academy.
 
1 September 2000: the Academy starts accepting females.
 
2003: the launch of the leadership training programme integrated into military training system; academic studies and military training separated.
 
June 2015: the first class of non-commissioned officers completes Bachelor’s degree studies.
 
During the past 25 years, 23 classes of full-time students, including 1 547 officers of different specialization, making an overall total of 2 470 officers, have graduated from the Academy.
 
Since the establishment of the Academy, more than 10 000 Lithuanian and foreign officers and civil servants have completed different professional development courses.
 
 
Photographs by K. Dijokas