On 27 November the Director General of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas, and Dr. Jonathan Brent, Executive Director of the Archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Antanas Ulpis Humanitarian Award for Contributions to the Development of Relations and Understanding between Lithuania and the Jews.
In 1948, Antanas Ulpis, Director of the Lithuanian Book Chamber in Vilnius, rescued thousands of Jewish books and documents that the Soviet authorities wanted to destroy. Ulpis risked his life to protect Jewish manuscripts and books from this threat. In honour of his memory and great courage, the YIVO Jewish Research Institute and the Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library have agreed to establish the Antanas Ulpis Prize in recognition of his contribution to the development of Lithuanian-Jewish relations and understanding.
The prize will consist of a letter of commendation and a cash prize of USD 5000. The prize, whose mission is to combat anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia, will be awarded for activities in the following categories:
The award will be given to a scholar(s) or author(s) or activists.
The Memorandum notes that there will be an annual award ceremony organised by YIVO and the National Library. The winner will be presented with a certificate and the opportunity to give a presentation at both YIVO and the National Library.
The laureate will be selected by a five-member committee, whose composition will be determined by the Director General of the National Library and the Executive Director of YIVO. The Committee, with the exception of the Executive Director of YIVO and the Director General of the National Library, who are permanent members, will be elected for a two-year term.
The funds required to establish this award are USD 100 000. It will be distributed through the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, which will manage the prize fund. A more detailed agreement will be drawn up after the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding, detailing the relationship between YIVO and the National Library of Lithuania in the administration of this award.