In November, the Lithuanian Youth Center in Vilnius announced a virtual letter-writing competition. Under the guidance of our teacher Marija, the school’s ninth graders participated in this contest and each was awarded a certificate of recognition. The certificates stated, “We are glad that you are responsible and care about and understand your role as a global citizen. Best wishes and enthusiasm for helping to develop an open, innovative, and creative Lithuanian society. The task was unusual because the object of the virtual letter-writing contest was to empathize with the daily life of a young man living in Afghanistan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, or Ukraine, someone living hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers away.
The ninth graders chose to learn about Ukraine and composed a letter that would have been written by a fictional Ukrainian named Ivasiuk to a Lithuanian friend. The letter told of the experiences of living in Ukraine. The choice of the fictional Ukrainian was influenced by the filmed production of the Ukrainian play Pliauskiukas Ivasiukas performed by the Kaunas State Puppet Theatre, which gave permission for the students to use material from the presentation.