MEP ALDE (2009–2014) Leonidas Donskis, Ph.D., is a philosopher, political theorist, historian of ideas, social analyst, and political commentator. As a public figure in Lithuania, he acted as a defender of human rights and civil liberties. In 2004, Donskis has been awarded by the European Commission the title of the Ambassador for Tolerance and Diversity in Lithuania. A center-right politician, he has always been opposed to all extreme or exclusionary attitudes and forms of violent politics, and, instead, has been leaning to liberalism with its advocacy of individual reason and conscience, ability to coexist with democratic programs of other non-exclusive ideologies, and moderation.
Leonidas Donskis was born on August 13, 1962, in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Donskis graduated from Lithuanian State Conservatoire (now Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater), majoring in philology and theater, and then pursued his graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Vilnius, Lithuania. Having received his first doctorate in philosophy from the University of Vilnius, he later earned his second doctorate in social and moral philosophy from the University of Helsinki, Finland.
His main scholarly interests lie in philosophy of history, philosophy of culture, philosophy of literature, philosophy of the social sciences, civilization theory, political theory, history of ideas, and studies in Central and East European thought.
A wandering scholar, he has researched and lectured in the USA, Great Britain, and Europe. Donskis has been an IREX-International Research and Exchanges Board Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, USA; a Swedish Institute Guest Researcher at the University of Gothenburg and a Guest Professor of East European Studies at the University of Uppsala, Sweden; a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bradford, Great Britain; Paschal P. Vacca Chair (Distinguished Visiting Professor) of Liberal Arts at the University of Montevallo in Alabama, USA; and a Fellow at the Collegium Budapest/Institute for Advanced Study, Hungary.
Until 7 June 2009, Leonidas Donskis acted as Professor of Political Science at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. From 2005 to 2009, he served as Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy at Vytautas Magnus University. In addition, he still acts as Docent of Social and Moral Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, and as Extraordinary Visiting Professor of Cultural Theory at Tallinn University, Estonia.
Donskis has been published widely in international refereed journals, and is the author or editor of more than thirty books, ten of them in English, including Troubled Identity and the Modern World (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Power and Imagination: Studies in Politics and Literature (New York: Peter Lang, 2008), Loyalty, Dissent, and Betrayal: Modern Lithuania and East-Central European Moral Imagination (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2005), Forms of Hatred: The Troubled Imagination in Modern Philosophy and Literature (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2003; VIBS-Value Inquiry Book Series Nomination for the 2003 Best Book in Social Philosophy in North America; VIBS 2003 Best Book Award), Identity and Freedom: Mapping Nationalism and Social Criticism in Twentieth-Century Lithuania (London & New York: Routledge, 2002), and The End of Ideology and Utopia? Moral Imagination and Cultural Criticism in the Twentieth Century (New York: Peter Lang, 2000).
Donskis’s works originally written in Lithuanian and English have been translated into Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, and Ukrainian. He edits two book series for Editions Rodopi, B. V. (Amsterdam and New York), one in Baltic studies, and another – VIBS-Value Inquiry Book Series. From 2005 to 2009, served as a Member of the Standing Committee for the Humanities (SCH) in the European Science Foundation (ESF).
On 7 June 2009, Donskis was elected a Member of the European Parliament.