Lithuanian promoting Lithuania in the US: “I do not believe in success, only to work”
For the first time there is a Lithuanian name on the list of the recipients of the prestigious Fulbright-Schuman scholarship. Žygimantas Juška fought two years for this scholarship. He says that he relies on the hard work, not the success for which others are waiting naively.
After his law studies in Vilnius, Ž. Juška went to the Netherlands to study the European Business Law Master at Radboud University, and he is currently a PhD-candidate at Leiden University. Mr. Juška says that the humanities were closer to his heart at school. “The most likely I inherited from my mother who is the Lithuanian language teacher. During my time at school I also combined my activities with athletics that allowed to develop the life discipline” – he said about the determination to go forward.
Q: What kind of jobs you have worked so far?
A: Two summers I worked in the U.S. under the program “Work & Travel”. Later, I worked as a legal assistant to the counsel (Peter Robinson) at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Radovan Karadžić (the former President of the Bosnian Serb Republic) case.
During the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, I represented the Embassy of Lithuania at the International Criminal Court and other international tribunals in The Hague. Prior to that, I worked as a Blue-Book trainee in the European Commission (Directorate General Competition, Cartels). Also, I was awarded a scholarship for completing the traineeship in the Asser Institute. In addition, I have the experience in Lithuania, working as an associate in the law firm “Motieka & Audzevičius”. Currently, I conduct the research in the U.S. under the Fulbright-Schuman grant.
Q: What was the reason that you were granted the Fulbright-Schuman scholarship?
A: I fought for this scholarship for two years. I assessed what the scholarship committee would like to hear from me – based on this I chose the future jobs. I believe that important achievements do not come by chance.
This scholarship is distinguished from others because the main criteria is the applicant’s ambassadorial qualities that have to be proved to the committee. In the event of the success the grantee needs to adequately represent his country and the EU in the U.S. I believe that the committee appreciates the candidates who are deserved for their own country. Thus, my previous experience in the Embassy distinguished me from the other candidates. In addition, the previous employment in a prestigious law firm in Lithuania where I defended the interests of the insolvent Lithuanian airlines (flyLAL) against Latvian flag carrier airline (Air Baltic A/S) and Riga International Airport attracted attention from the committee because this case is not only important at the regional level, but it also reached the European Court of Justice.
So far, the scholarship has not been granted to any Lithuanian, and perhaps the important reason for my success was that I chose the Lithuanian research object: why the Lithuanian group actions can offer a solution at the EU level.
Q: How would you describe your formula of success?
A: I do not believe in success – I believe in hard work! The most important factor that helps to climb through the career ladder is the simplicity. I try to be the same as I was in a first year of university benches. I remember at the end of my work at the Hague Tribunal, I asked a respectable lawyer if he could give me any advice for the future. He said, – “you should remember how simple you were when you started your career and remain the same throughout your life. You will see, it will help …” And it works! When you learn how to be simple to others, you learn how to be fair to yourself.
Note: This post is the translation of an article with 2015-2016 Fulbright-Schuman grantee Žygimantas Juška (at Stanford University and the University of Michigan) that first appeared on the Lithuanian new website: lrytas.lt. This article has been translated with the permission of the journalist who conducted the interview and their media outlet.