The Atlantic Council's Robert Nurick and computer scientist Vinton Gray Cerf are the most prominent international names on the list of this year's recipients of the Cross of Terra Mariana, the highest decoration for foreign nationals.
"Estonia's highest gratitude goes to the people from different walks of life at home and away. Their day to day dedication to their work, their calling and making Estonia better deserves recognition from our country," said Ilves today in announcing the honorees.
Cerf, considered one of the fathers of the Internet, will receive the first class of the decoration, and Nurick, a leading expert on geopolitical issues, a third class Cross of Terra Mariana.
Ilves's office noted that Cerf's research had been used by Estonia in developing its acclaimed public electronic services. Cerf also serves on the Ilves-chaired international committee of IT experts.
Six other foreign nationals will receive the honor:
Ivo Hans Daalder - US, promoter of Estonian-NATO cooperation
Manfred Glesner - Germany, Estonian IT education supporter, academician
Maris Ošlejs - Latvia, promoter of Estonian-Latvian cultural ties
Grigori Mussaljov - Russian Federation, Ersa national movement promoter
Alexander von Samson-Himmelstjerna - Germany, local and rural development supporter in Võru County
Kosaku Yamaguchi - Japan, champion of Estonian-Japanese economic relations
Another American, the Ohio-born David O'Brock, director of rare earth metals industry Molycorp Silmet, picked up an Order of the White Star for entrepreneurial work.
Major General James Allen Adkins will be awarded the Cross of the Eagle, Second Class, a military services award, for promoting US-Estonian defense cooperation.
In all, 99 individuals were honored with a variety of state decorations.