A roundup of Estonian news and events taking place around the world from November 8-15.
Between 165,000 and 200,000 Estonians are estimated to live outside the country right now, accounting for some 15-20 percent of the total number of Estonians worldwide.
With many diaspora communities located throughout the world, both in English-speaking countries and beyond, ERR News, in conjunction with the Integration Foundation (Integratsiooni Sihtasutus), has launched a weekly Global Estonian Report which will provide a weekly window into Estonian communities and culture from all over the globe.
Registration has now opened for all Estonian collectives abroad for the XXVIII Song Festival and XXI Dance Festival, and the organizing Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation is inviting all Estonian groups that are active abroad to sign up.
"Estonian groups abroad include groups with a focus on the preservation and development of the Estonian language and our national culture as well as promoting the sense of belonging with our country in Estonian communities abroad," the foundation said.
The XXI Dance Festival will also feature a dedicated category of Estonian collectives abroad, called WORLDWIDE (ÜLEILMA).
The XXVIII Song Festival and XXI Dance Festival will take place in Tallinn from July 3-6, 2025. Registration is open through January 31, 2024.
Learning Estonian is immeasurably more difficult abroad than in Estonia, yet it is not an impossible task. In Estonia, people are surrounded by the Estonian language; abroad, you must take the time to create or find this environment.
"We would like Estonians across the globe to have a chance to learn Estonian and preserve their language skills, whatever their reasons for migrating," writes Ministry of Education and Research official Kätlin Kõverik. "Over the years, several services have been developed that the Estonian state is supporting in cooperation with communities."
Due to Estonia's size, every Estonian is also in effect an ambassador for their country, says Margus Laidre, a diplomat with more than 30 years' experience – including as ambassador to Finland and to Russia.
"We Estonians are very few in the world," he stated. "For this reason, being an Estonian is not just a question of belonging to a certain nationality; it's a 'profession' too. In that sense, all Estonians are in fact diplomats."
Informal but organized gatherings, often called language cafes (keelekohvikud in Estonian), have become increasingly popular as a means of learning and practicing Estonian in a relaxed, independent environment.
Here are a few such events happening around the world:
Language Cafe, November 16, Tallinn
Estonian Language Cafe, November 16, New York
Language Roulette (Keelerulett), November 21, online
Conversation evening in Estonian, November 21, Tampere
Estonian Language Cafe, November 22, Toronto
What is Global Estonian?
Global Estonian is an online portal, in Estonian and English, and network for Estonians and friends of Estonians around the world.
Managed by the Integration Foundation, Global Estonian brings together news, events, culture, organizations, support programs, learning opportunities and a wealth of other information from Estonian communities abroad, all in one central gateway.
Editor: Aili Vahtla