Georgetown University Citation for President Dalia Grybauskaitė delivered by Professor Angela Stent
18 May 2013, Washington D.C.
Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa
Georgetown shares with Lithuania two important connections: the game of basketball and today's honoree, Dalia Grybauskaitė, Lithuania's President and a 1992 Economics Fellow at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service - and in earlier years herself quite a basketball player. Lithuania's first female head of state was elected to the Presidency in 2009 by an historic landslide, receiving more than 68% of the vote. This stunning victory capped a remarkable career of public service that, over two decades, moved from Director of the Economic Relations to Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Deputy Finance and Deputy Foreign Minister, to Finance Minister, to EU Budget Commissioner to President. In 2005, she was also selected as the European Union's Commissioner of the Year. The President's achievements were the result of determination, hard work, intellect and perseverance. This makes her both beacon and icon not only for the women and men graduating here today but for aspiring young people around the world, whose security and empowerment are the pressing issues of our time. In 2010, Glamour Magazine named her a Woman of the Year.
President Grybauskaitė is also, profoundly, and in the best sense of that term so central to Jesuit education, a Woman for Others. Announcing her candidacy, she defined high aims and decided to run because she wanted to help Lithuanians to "live without fear, with confidence in ourselves, in each other and in tomorrow." She has worked tirelessly to realize that vision in a time of political upheaval and economic transition as her country moves to an increasingly knowledge-based economy. Often described now as "The Hope of Lithuania," she insists that the vulnerable members of society remain a priority in both domestic and international policy, and in particular has emphasized the key role women can and should play in turning those priorities into realities. "Women," she has observed, "are more focused on the quality of life in their countries. They are more involved in family policies, child care and poverty reduction." But President Grybauskaitė is no Utopian. Her competence marries compassion - and resilience. In 2008, as the EU Financial and Budget Commissioner she presented a budget in which, for the first time in history, spending on growth and employment constituted the highest share of the European Union's budget. To all of us, then, both in private and public life, President Grybauskaitė is a model to emulate.
The three Baltic states have led the post-communist world in developing democracy, markets and the rule of law. We salute Lithuania and its leadership for its achievements in the past two decades. And today, for her exemplary commitment to "truth, transparency and responsibility," Georgetown University is proud to proclaim Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa.