The Estonian Central Council in Canada (EKN) hosted its third virtual conference for Estonian Canadian organizations on Sunday, December 5th. There were over 40 participants from across Canada and Estonia. The conference, which was held in both Estonian and English was moderated by Reet Marten Sehr with technical support from Kairi Taul Hemingway.
A priority goal for EKN is increased collaboration between Estonian Canadian communities and building relationships both amongst ourselves and with Estonia. As the central Estonian Canadian organization, EKN is a member of global Estonian organizations Estonian World Congress (ÜEKN), Global Estonian NGO (MTÜ Globaalsed Eestlased) and has a seat on the Estonian government’s Global Estonian Advisory Council (Valitsuse koosöökomisjon), which led the development of the Global Estonian Program (Üleilmse eestluse programm). EKN representatives meet on an ongoing basis with recently appointed special ambassador for global Estonians, Marin Mõttus and advisors, Keit Spiegel and Kadri Linnas. As such, EKN is able to voice the accomplishments and concerns of our communities to the Estonian government and seek support for our future endeavours.
It is a huge achievement for Estonians abroad to have an appointed special ambassador and 2 advisors. This is the result of four years of active lobbying by diaspora central organizations for greater representation, an effort initiated and largely led by EKN. Ambassador Mõttus is actively seeking input from all global Estonian communities, as we move forward together to implement the new Global Estonian Program, in January 2022. This program will provide significant support and funding for global Estonian organizations.
The conference provided an opportunity for Ambassador Mõttus, Keit Spiegel, Kadri Linnas, and all participants to learn more about the 22 registered organizations, through 2 – 3 minute individual presentations. Representatives were asked to include a short history, demographic data, what makes their organization unique, successes, a challenge and hopes for future cooperation with Estonia. Feedback from Estonian and Canadian participants was highly positive.
Of special interest to those living in the Greater Toronto area was the renewal and strength of communities in Vancouver, Alberta (AEHS Alberta Heritage Society) and Montreal, as well as the Johan Pitka Society and Estonian Canadian radio program Esti Pop.
Reet Marten Sehr introduced the Estonian presenters, who provided updated information about the new Global Estonian program and answered questions on a variety of topics. There was strong interest in upcoming grant and funding opportunities, as well as the Global Estonian website, founded and donated to the Estonian government by Canadians Marcus Kolga and Tarmo Saks. The website has become the official government platform for global Estonians. It maps groups, organizations and events from around the world, and compiles a weekly global report for Estonian national broadcaster ERR. Everyone is invited to visit the site and organizations are being asked to post information directly at
In her closing remarks, Reet Marten Sehr thanked all presenters and participants. EKN will continue to inform communities about upcoming information and grant opportunities through the Global Estonian Program and host meetings on topics of mutual interest.
DIGITAL Estonian Life No. 39 - September 30, 2022