„A few days ago, while walking down the Laisvės (Eng. Liberty) Avenue, I recalled an episode from my childhood. I was eight or nine years old then. The friends of my parents came and they spoke about the USA, New York, as of the center of the world. I got angry and told them they have disappointed me. Lithuania and Kaunas are the center of the world. I was born and grew up here. It is time for Kaunas to wake up. Kaunas will definitely become the European Capital of Culture in 2022. Culture allows you to learn and grow as a personality, therefore, my personal commitment is to work for it and make it spread on the international level. We all have to contribute to make this happen. There is so much creativity, thoughtfulness, and genius in this city. Therefore, I am certain that major international projects can and have to originate here, in our hometown Kaunas. Let every single one of us seek, act, and think about the ways we can contribute instead of a personal benefit!” – Yours Bella

Bella Shirin was born in Kaunas after the World War II. She was born here after her parents who survived the concentration camp returned to the city. For Bella’s father, Stalin’s regime was like a second concentration camp, therefore, entire family left to Israel. Even though Bella felt welcomed in Israel and learned a new language, she had never forgotten Lithuania.