This year's Estonian Citizen of the Year is Johanna-Maria Lehtme, founder and CEO of the NGO "Slava Ukraini."
Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) presented Lehtme with the title of Estonia's 20th Citizen of the Year. The award was accompanied with a cash prize and the "flower of society" sculpture created by Reti Saksa.
Läänemets said, that, this year, Lehtme has galvanized thousands of Estonians into action, whether by raising money to send ambulances to Ukraine or sewing winter uniforms for soldiers.
In her acceptance speech, Lehtme said that "Slava Ukraini"'s experience shows that this year has been a year in which Estonian people grew as citizens. Lehtme added, that she has also been pleased to learn that, if you have a noble enough cause, you can knock on the door of any ministry or company, and they will help you.
"Slava Ukraini "is now collecting donations for its "Christmas of Hope in Ukraine" campaign, which aims to help ordinary Ukrainians in need in the areas hardest hit by the war.
More information about the NGO "Slava Ukraini" and the "Christmas of Hope in Ukraine" campaign can be found here.
The Citizen of the Year award is presented annually to recognize a person's outstanding contribution to civic awareness and social cohesion.
Last year, Irja Lutsari, professor at the Institute of Bio- and Translational Medicine of the University of Tartu, was named Citizen of the Year by the Minister of the Interior.
Previous winners of the award include Arkady Popov, Riina Roose, Eva Truuverk, Rasmus Rask, Kristi Liiva, Helen Sildna, Ilma Adamson, Marju Kõivupuu, Krista Aru, Konstantin Vassiljev, Pieter Boerefijn, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Rainer Nõlvak, Lagle Parek, Andrus Veerpalu, the Adamson family, Jüri Jaanson and Lennart Meri.
Editor: Michael Cole