Anne Remmel is an ardent supporter of helping people thrive in both her business and personal pursuits, so it’s only natural for her to help bring the new International Estonian Centre (IEC) to life.
“I firmly believe that we need to adequately fund the IEC so it can be top notch,” Anne said. “Our centre needs to be a permanent home where our culture can be showcased, along with other cultural institutions. That’s why its location as part of the Bloor Street Culture Corridor in this prime downtown location is ideal.”
She believes that the proximity as well to major educational centres such as the University of Toronto and the Estonian Studies Centre will lead to natural and business synergies.
“Estonians need to have a presence here that goes beyond folk dancing and gymnastics,” she said. “We can’t afford to be insular. The next generation has their feet planted firmly in their culture, we need to look outward so that they become involved and stay involved.”
Anne’s parents, Reginald and Helene, who fled to Sweden from Estonia, came to Canada on the S.S. Walnut, one of the first ships that brought new immigrants here from that country. After settling in Toronto, they became actively involved in the Estonian community and Anne was immersed “in all things Estonian.” This included Kalev Estienne gymnastics, the Keele Street Estonian school and the Estonian church (where she was a member of the mandolin orchestra.)
Anne and her husband Albert Cohen, “a dedicated Estophile who goes to everything,” live in Toronto. She has a son, Ian, who teaches Critical Thinking and Philosophy of Science at the University of Southern California.
In her business life, Anne’s specialty is leadership and organizational development. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto in 2002 in Education Theory and Policy Studies. She has held leadership positions and designed corporate education programs in both government and private sector in organizations such as the Bank of Montreal, IBM, Pitney Bowes and the Baycrest Centre.
An avid painter, Anne headed the Estonian House art committee for 10 years and mounted numerous art shows in the Estonian community helping support developing artists. She is excited about the potential for the IEC to promote and encourage the visual arts.
She was also involved on the organizing committee of the Latitude44 (L44) technology conference and Estonian Music Week, which took place in Toronto in November 2019. This helped fuel her passion for helping other Estonians succeed and create connections. She moderated two sessions on e-health and e-education at L44, and reports that the participants in the panels will continue to keep in touch.
“This is exactly what you want to happen,” she said. “This will also help set the stage for the new centre and its business accelerator, where these kinds of valuable connections will be nurtured and encouraged to grow.”
Get involved and help support our future
The International Estonian Centre’s capital campaign donor categories are Kalevipoja Laud for gifts over $100,000 (including naming rights for specific areas), Viru Vanemad for gifts over $10,000, and Kungla Rahvas for gifts up to $10,000. The Kungla Rahvas campaign will launch in early 2020.
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DIGITAL Estonian Life No. 26 - June 30, 2022