Thursday, 06 February 2020 19:00
Eesti Elu / Estonian Life Online
EKN President Marcus Kolga signs over the GlobalEstonian.com portal to Integratsiooni Sihtasutus Director, Irene Käosaar in Tallinn, December 16, 2019.
Tallinn - Members of the Canadian-Estonian community and EKN were invited to participate in a workshop on Global Estonian identity, communications and engagement in Tallinn on December 16, organized by the Integration NGO and later a meeting of the Global Estonian subcommittee on communications on December 17 at the Estonian Interior Ministry.
The full day workshop was intended to identify Global Estonian demographic groups, their goals and needs, with regards to greater cooperation with the Estonian government and to help form the basis for any approach on how to create sustainable goals for maintaining and growing Estonian identity abroad.
The workshop, led by experienced User Experience Designer, discovered that Estonians living abroad and their local communities have differing needs and experiences, indicating that further study is needed to discuss and identify solutions that speak to specific requirements based on community locations.
“The needs of the Finnish community of Estonian expatriates, for example, is quite different from those living in Canada, as those in Finland can regularly return to Estonia to connect with their cultural heritage and identity,” said Estonian Central Council and Global Estonian NGO President, Marcus Kolga, who attended the meeting. “We are impressed that Integration S.A., which is leading the development of several solutions to help facilitate and enable the goal of expanding cooperation and understanding between our communities and the Estonian government, has taken this fundamental, fact and evidence based approach - which will be helpful in guiding the development of future policy.”
EKN believes that it is critically important that those government advisors who have been tasked with leading the development Global Estonian program, take into account and respect the experiences and priorities of all Estonian communities living abroad. EKN does not believe that a one-size-fits-all strategy will help achieve the goal of sustaining and growing the Estonian identity abroad. There are many senior officials in the Cultural and Education Ministries, who have worked with Estonian diaspora communities for years, and EKN believes that their experience and knowledge is critically important to achieving a successful outcome.
“We are thankful to the Estonian Compatriots Program, for supporting our cultural heritage groups and schools over the past years,” continued Kolga, “and we’re grateful to Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu and Minister Riina Solman, for formally initiating and overseeing the implementation of the Global Estonian program.”
One of the online tools intended to help connect Estonians around the world is the Global Estonian (globalestonian.com
) database and online portal. The platform lists Estonian cultural organizations, diplomatic representatives, groups and events around the world and was developed by Canadian-Estonian volunteer designers and programmers. GlobalEstonian.com
was formally handed over to the people of Estonia and government at Monday’s workshop as a Canadian-Estonian EV100 gift.
Other Estonian-Canadians formally participating in Global Estonian policy development subcommittees are: Piret Noorhani, Kairi Taul-Hemingway, Tonu Altosaar, Laas Leivat, Kai Kiilaspea, Mart Matsoo, Hillar Lauri, Taavi Tamtik, Reet Sehr, Lia Kaljurand, Monika Roose, and Tarmo Saks.
While in Tallinn, EKN president, Marcus Kolga also met with other senior Estonian government officials to discuss various Canadian-Estonian issues, including Minister Urmas Reinsalu and The Reform Party foreign affairs committee.