Annela Anger-Kraavi, Mart Kuldkepp named next TÜ expat Estonian professors

Annela Anger-Kraavi.
Annela Anger-Kraavi. Source: Krõõt Tarkmeel

The expatriate Estonian visiting professorship at the University of Tartu will be held next year by Annela Anger-Kraavi of the University of Cambridge and Mart Kuldkepp of University College London (UCL), Estonia's flagship university announced Thursday.

"The new expatriate Estonian visiting professors will bring highly important topics to Tartu: Professor Annela Anger-Kraavi will share her expertise in sustainable development and climate change policy, and [Associate Professor] Mart Kuldkepp's research in the study of Estonianness is also becoming increasingly relevant for the university," TÜ Rector Toomas Asser said Thursday according to a press release.

Asser thanked the diaspora Estonian community for establishing and continuing to finance the scholarship fund for visiting professors to TÜ.

"Over the past two years, we've already seen that the opportunity to invite researchers and lecturers of Estonian origin to Tartu adds great value to our teaching and research, and our former visiting professors have enriched our community's cultural life," he highlighted.

The scholarship for expatriate Estonian visiting professors is being awarded for the first time, noted Peeter Einola, director of the University of Tartu Foundation in Toronto.

"The previous scholarship competitions have confirmed that there are top-level researchers of Estonian origin who work at universities abroad and have the desire and will to contribute with their knowledge to Estonian higher education and research," Einola said. "This scholarship is an excellent example of how cooperation with the Estonian community abroad can bring new and vital experiences to Estonia."

Dr. Annela Anger-Kraavi is a professor, senior research associate and director of the Climate Change Policy Group (CCPG) at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Mart Kuldkepp is an associate professor of Scandinavian history and politics and head of the Department of European and International Social and Political Studies (EISPS) at UCL.

During her visiting professorship in Tartu, Anger-Kraavi will develop competency in environmental economics and climate change policy at TÜ's Faculty of Social Sciences — specifically at the School of Economics and Business Administration and the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies. She will also play a key role in launching the Estonian university's Center for Sustainable Development.

Anger-Kraavi said that, as visiting professor, she intends to introduce her activities in the field of environment and climate change as well as deliver lectures to master's students and all others interested.

Mart Kuldkepp. Source: Eero Vabamägi

Kuldkepp's research deals primarily with Estonia's political and social history in the early decades of the 20th century and the historical contacts between Estonia and Scandinavia. In recent years, his teaching has focused mainly on Scandinavian and European politics.

Kuldkepp said that this scholarship will allow him to cooperate even more closely with TÜ historians and, among other things, write a monograph on Estonians' war experience in the 20th century and study issues related to Estonians' national self-determination. He plans to hold a public lecture series on the lesser-known aspects of Estonian political history prior to World War II which could also interest audiences beyond historians.

Established at the University of Tartu Foundation in November 2018, the scholarship for visiting professors from the Estonian diaspora is aimed at inviting researchers and lecturers of Estonian descent working abroad to work for a semester or year at the University of Tartu. The scholarship is supported by the University of Toronto's Chair of Estonian Studies Foundation, the University of Tartu Foundation in Toronto and the Estonian Students Fund in the USA.

The diaspora professorship at TÜ has been previously held by David Ilmar Lepasaar Beecher, a historian and social scientist of Estonian descent, and Jaan Valsiner, professor of cultural psychology.

The scholarship for one semester is €25,000.

December 1 celebrations

Founded as Academia Gustaviana by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1632, the University of Tartu saw three different languages of instruction — Latin, German and Russian — across the following three centuries before being officially established as the Estonian-language national university of the Republic of Estonia in December 1919, nearly two years after the country had declared its independence.

In modern times, the anniversary of the historic changeover is marked on December 1 with a torchlight procession of students and student organizations through the city, a ball and a ceremonial assembly at TÜ's historic Assembly Hall.

The assembly includes the conferring of doctorate and honorary doctorate degrees as well as the awarding of the TÜ Award for Contribution to the Estonian National Identity, which was presented this year to poet, prosaist and essayist Viivi Luik.

Anger-Kraavi and Kuldkepp were announced as the recipients of the next diaspora Estonian professorships and respective scholarships Thursday as well.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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