Estonian representatives from the central organizations of at least 12 countries gathered at the National Library during the April 24-25 weekend, for the annual meeting of the Estonian World Council (EWC), a global organization uniting Estonians throughout the world.
Newly appointed Minister of Culture Indrek Saar greeted the assembled delegates and guests, thanking Estonians living abroad for their decades-long fight for Estonian independence, and for the maintenance of the Estonian language and culture in their respective countries.
The groups that belong to EWC organize a varied and intensive program of activities every year in the member countries Canada, USA, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Australia, United Kingdom and Ukraine.
In the EWC meeting, chaired by Marju Rink-Abel (US) and Aho Rebas (Sweden), the delelgates mainly focused on determining goals for the upcoming year’s activities. On the financial front, the biggest news was the merger of New-York-based Estonian Students Fund and the Margot and Herbert Linna Fund, also based in the US, from which EWC had disbursed over a million dollars worth of scholarships to Estonian university students.
In 2018, the world-wide ESTO Days will return to Toronto, where the first festival took place back in 1972. The twelwth ESTO will mark Estonia’s 100th anniversary jubilee year.
The 2016 Council meeting will take place in Washington DC.
In addition to the meeting, EWC organized a symposium entitled “Flight and Exile” at a fully-filled hall in the Museum of Occupations on Saturday, April 25. The symposium included presentations and personal remembrances by Aho Rebas, Marju Rink-Abel, Ivi Zajedova, Ülle Ederma and Maie Barrow. The latter two recounted their memories of fleeing from Estonia, and a moving short film entitled "Flight," utilizing Eric Soovere’s photos shot during that period, added to the presentations.
Editor: M. Oll