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Estonia's cultural attaché in Beijing to begin work Monday

Anete Elken, the new cultural attaché in Beijing.
Anete Elken, the new cultural attaché in Beijing. Source: (Private library)

On Monday, April 3, Anete Elken will begin work at the Estonian Embassy in China as Estonia's first cultural attaché in Beijing.

As cultural attaché, Elken will be tasked with developing cultural relations between Estonia and China, developing contacts between East Asian and Estonian cultural organizations and creative persons as well as helping introduce Estonian culture and promote cultural exports, according to a Ministry of Culture press release.

"Cultural relations between Estonia and China have become very active over the past three years," said Ministry of Culture Secretary General Paavo Nõgene, who noted that cooperation in the cultural field could be mutally beneficial both in that field as well as economically. "A good level of cultural relations helps to open doors in other fields, as ministers are colleagues in government and can share information regarding relations and cooperation among themselves."

Marten Kokk, the Estonian ambassador to China, likewise noted that Estonia and China's cultural cooperation has become very active. "Over the past half a year, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO) and the Estonian National Male Choir (RAM) have visited China," he said, noting that ERSO and RAM were planning a concert tour in China in 2018 in the framework of cultural cooperation between the two countries. "Appointing an Estonian cultural attaché to China is a very necessary and timely step in best taking advantage of the interest and potential that has been generated."

Elken will be involved in preparing for events dedicated to the approaching 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. She also noted that the KIE+1 Year of Culture, in which China is organizing various cultural events, forums and other exciting events in cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, is currently underway. "It is important to me that Estonia be represented as much as possible at these events," she explained. "I will assist in the bringing together and cooperation of both countries' cultural personalities so that they do not have to worry about the language barrier or other obstacles."

Mandarin-speaking Estonian

Elken has lived and worked in China in recent years and speaks Mandarin and English at an advanced level. She is the founder of the brand RuKis, which is involved in the small-scale production and sale of rye bread in China, as well as program coordinator at The Hutong, where she is responsible for organizing educational and cultural trips and team training events.

Elken graduated a gold medalist from Tallinn Arte High School, majored in Asian Studies at Tallinn University and studied Mandarin and Chinese culture at Guangxi University's International Education College.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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