Valdas Adamkus was born on November 3, 1926 in Kaunas.
During World War II (July 1944), together with his parents he moved to Germany, but in a few months he returned to join "a group of the motherland defenders", that fought against Soviet troops. But soon Adamkus finally moved to German and in 1949 the former Lithuanian President Kazys Griniusa helped him to emigrate to the U.S. He got a job there. He worked in an automobile factory in Chicago, and later as a draftsman.
In the U.S. he becomes actively involved in the activities of the Lithuanian diaspora, taking part in the protest against the occupation of Lithuania. In the 1970s Adamkus works in the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Since 1972, the future president periodically visits Lithuania several times a year, participating in projects for environmental monitoring. Being a coordinator of U.S. assistance to the Baltic states, he arranges training visits of the Lithuanian academic institutions to the United States.
In 1991, Valdas Adamkus returned to Lithuania and in 1993 he headed the presidential campaign of a candidate - Stasys Lozoraitis, in 1996, he was among the most active participants in the parliamentary election campaign.
In 1998, Adamkus won the presidential election. While being in power he contributed to the modernization of Lithuania, and aimed the country to the integration with NATO and the EU.
In 2002, Valdas Admkus was defeated by Rolandas Paksas.
In 2004, after the presidential scandal, when Paksas was impeached, the special election was announced. Adamkus ran for the presidency again and won.
For a man who has lived a huge part of his life in the U.S., the winning of the presidential election in the former Soviet republic is a great achievement.
Valdas Adamkus said: "Democracy is not the final result. – It’s a process. It should be protected and preserved all the time."