Monthly Archives: March 2014

Better late than never… my trip to NYC

I wrote about my North America trip last year when I was still on the road. I edited some of the entries later, adding some reflections and interpretations. But I omitted two stops on my itinerary – a brief visit to New Jersey and three days in New York. The reason for this was that I left immediately after, and I was too busy to keep blogging after I returned to Lithuania. Also, visiting the West Coast was my primary aim, so it was my priority to blog about San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver.

I was lucky to find lovely hosts with the help of my friend V., who also came from Toronto for a visit. The day I arrived was the 4th of July, so both of us, plus my friends J. and B., who were also in NYC, arranged to get together and watch the fireworks. I got a lift from my New Jersey hosts (I’ll blog about the day with them later), and they first took me to Brooklyn Bridge and then to Ground Zero. I had the luck to be taken to NYC’s main touristic objects by car. Let’s take a non-iconic view.

Brooklyn Bridge

Click on the images to enlarge them

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Drawing and crafts

I’m reading this book. I started it probably around a year ago, reading parts of it at different times and then putting it away. Thoughts inspired by this book helped me formulate the reasons for leaving my old job. There is much in it to think about for every ‘knowledge worker’. On the other hand, I was always aware of the fact that many of these crafty professions the author admires are almost entirely male-dominated and could be very hostile to the rare women who attempt to venture into this world. This is often cited as one of the reasons why girls try hard in academic subjects – most professions that are open to them without academic education are extremely low-paid, exhausting and otherwise unattractive.

As a teenager I had a dream to own a vintage Soviet car that I could take apart and put back together myself, like my uncle used to do with his first Zaporozhets. Yet I would have never had the courage that the author of this book had, to seek out experienced mechanics and get them to teach me something. Let alone in parallel with doing a PhD in Philosophy. Courage is something they should teach in primary school. Continue reading

Evaluation on equal opportunities in structural funds completed

Good news: colleagues from my old job at PPMI have finalized the project Evaluation of the impact of EU structural support on the implementation of the horizontal priority “Gender equality and non-discrimination” for the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance, where I was the key researcher and did most of the data collection and analysis. As I have written for PPMI website in the conclusions of the final conference, “the evaluation stated that groups experiencing discrimination benefited from EU structural investments, as illustrated by project case studies and a short promotional video created in the framework of this evaluation. However, there was a lack of a strategic approach to the horizontal priority and coherence at the level of Operational Programmes. This will have to be strengthened during the new programming period. Although the evaluation found similar trends in neighbouring countries, the cross-country comparison allowed identifying practices worth learning from. E.g. in Poland there was an inter-institutional equality network in place, Sweden benefited from the competences of equal opportunities experts at the local level, Latvia commissioned sectoral guidelines for the construction sector, and a goal to combat stereotypes was put forward in Estonia. The findings of the evaluation were presented discussed with stakeholders at an international conference. Representatives of project managers, NGOs, various ministries and the European Institute for Gender Equality took part.”

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A week in Baku – the city center and interesting stories

As I have written in the previous post, I spent a week in Baku upon invitation from the NATO International School of Azerbaijan. We stayed in the suburb of Shikhov, close to the Caspian sea. Since it’s low season, there were almost no other guests. The hotel is far away from the city center. Although it provides free shuttle services to guests, buses run only once in 1.5-2 hours.

Surroundings of a mosque in Shikhov

Surroundings of a mosque in Shikhov – click on the images to enlarge them

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A week in Baku – some general facts and a walk in the Old City

I finally found a way to visit Baku (Azerbaijan) – just one day before the application deadline, I noticed that there is an interesting conference on the European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership. I had several friends from Azerbaijan when I studied at CEU, so I had heard lots of stories about the country. But visiting there is not so easy. It’s not like Portugal or Malta, where I can jump on a plane any time. To apply for a tourist visa, one must present hotel reservations for each night and a letter from employer or another document stating that the visitor has enough money to travel. For a personal visit, there has to be an invitation. With an invitation from the conference, making a visa took a week and was relatively easy. Continue reading