Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus met with teachers and parents of the New York Estonian Educational Society’s Estonian school to hear about the school’s progress and discuss ways to increase the involvement of foreign Estonians, during her working visit to the US.
The foreign minister thanked the teachers and parents for their commitment to the preservation of Estonian identity, language and culture. “Every person who understands and knows about, supports and values Estonia is valuable to us. The stronger the network of those who support and cheer for Estonia is, the more strongly Estonia is able to feel,” she said at the Estonian school.
Ways to strengthen the ties of the local communities with Estonia were discussed at the meeting. Pentus-Rosimannus presented the idea of creating a global Estonian network, one of the aims of which would be to reach Estonians living abroad, keep them informed about what is happening in their homeland and give them the opportunity to speak along.
The meeting also touched on concerns related to citizenship. According to current Estonian citizenship law, a child born to an Estonian parent and living abroad to an Estonian parent, has to renounce one and choose either an Estonian or the host country's citizenship upon reaching adulthood, despite the Estonian Constitution not allowing anyone to have their native born citizenship taken from them. The Reform Party's idea is to change the law, so that people can have dual citizenship. “Such a situation is not reasonable and needs to be changed so that a child born with dual citizenship at birth would not have to renounce one of them,” Pentus-Rosimannus said.
This year was the 80th academic year for the New York Estonian Educational Society’s Estonian School.
The New York Estonian School is a supplementary school for children 2.5 to 13 years of age, where classes are held every second Saturday. For this school year, 80 children attended. The school's primary goal is the teaching of Estonian language and introduction of Estonian culture. The curriculum consists of Estonian language, local folklore, history, folk dancing and singing. Most of the teaching materials are received from Estonia.
Editor: S. Tambur