The second Estonian Central Council in Canada (EKN) virtual conference took place on Saturday, May 8, 2021, with 36 representatives from over 35 Estonian Canadian organizations.
Reet Marten Sehr brought greetings and introduced the first speaker, Jüri Ratas, former Prime Minister and current chairman of Estonian parliament, who had expressed a wish to communicate with the Estonian Canadian community. The chairman offered comments about the Covid situation in Estonia and invited everyone to visit Estonia as soon as possible.
Next, Keit Spiegel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs advisor for Global Estonians presented a comprehensive overview of the Global Estonian Program 2021-2024 (Üleilmse eestluse programm) and the Innovation Program for Estonians, people with Estonian roots and friend of Estonia around the world. After the new government assumed office in March 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was appointed to coordinate global Estonian affairs. Cooperation and partnership between global Estonian communities and Estonia continues to grow. The Global Estonian Advisory board, which consists of representatives from global central organizations, including EKN will continue to meet regularly and a diplomatic representative with a special mandate for global Estonians will be announced in coming weeks.
The primary task for this year is ratification of the Global Estonian program (Üleilmse eestluse programm). The goals of the program include preserving and promoting Estonian identity abroad; involving the diaspora community in Estonia’s development; promoting cooperation; providing ongoing quality services; and supporting those who are are returning to live in Estonia. To meet these goals, the government will continue to support global Estonian media outlets, organize regular diaspora forums, support citizens’ initiatives, implement an indepth diaspora survey and promote business diplomacy. Reet Marten Sehr moderated follow up questions and thanked Keit Spiegel for giving up her Saturday evening to meet with our community representatives, as well as for her ongoing support.
Finally, Kaire Cocker and Tarmo Saks from the Estonian Integration Foundation presented a highly practical overview of the Global Estonian website, founded and donated to the Estonian government by former EKN president Marcus Kolga and Tarmo Saks. The website, which is the official platform of the Estonian government maps global Estonian groups, organizations and events, and compiles a weekly global report for the Estonian national broadcaster ERR. The website offers a common information platform and enables users to communicate with global Estonian organizations, thus contributing to the preservation and growth of Estonian communities around the world.
We invite all of you to visit the Global Estonian website at https://globalestonian.com/en
EKN president Kairi Taul Hemingway moderated final questions, and in her closing remarks thanked presenters and participants. A priority goal for EKN is to facilitate communication and cooperation between Estonian Canadian communities and organizations in Canada on topics of mutual interest. In order to achieve this goal, EKN plans to organize regular community conferences and organization representatives will be invited to participate in future EKN general meetings.
Reet Marten Sehr, EKN Vice President
DIGITAL Estonian Life No. 29 - July 23, 2021
All issues with table of contents available here: https://issuu.com/estonianlife
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