President Kersti Kaljulaid is to decorate 112 people this year, marking the 101st anniversary of Estonian independence. Recipients are those whose commitment to their profession, work, or to their community, has changed Estonian life for the better.
The honours are to be awarded on 22 February, two days before Estonian Independence Day, at the Arvo Pärt Centre at Laulasmaa, to the west of Tallinn. The decorations recognise both Estonian citizens and those of other nations for their determination and loyalty to the principles on which present-day Estonia is based, particularly in pursuit of openness and democracy, knowledge and enterprise, and care and awareness.
Noted recipients of awards include NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who is being decorated with the highest award to be bestowed on non-Estonian citizens, the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, First Class.
Finnish politician Timo Soini (Blue Reform) is being awarded with the Terra Mariana Cross, Second Class, and three US nationals, cryptographers Bailey Whitfield Diffie and Martin Edward Hellman, and economist Jeffrey David Sachs are all receiving the Terra Mariana Cross, Third Class.
From the field of defence, the Order of the Cross of the Eagle is to be bestowed on close to a dozen people, including US Gen. and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Curtis Michael Scaparrotti (First Class), and Estonian Col. Enno Mõts and UK Col. Giles Richard Harris (both Second Class).
Former Secretary of State Heiki Loot, now a Supreme Court Judge, and former Chief Justice Priit Pikamäe, soon to take up a post as European Court of Justice (ECJ) Advocate General in Luxembourg, are both to be bestowed the Order of the National Coat of Arms, Third Class.
Fencer Irina Embrich will receive the Order of the White Star, Third Class.
Other medals to be presented by President Kaljulaid include a humanitarian award, The Order of the Red Cross.
Most of the medals and awards date back to the first Estonian Republic (1918-1940) though the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Estonian: Maarjamaa Rist) was set up by then President of Estonia, Lennart Meri (1929-2006) in 1995, in honour of Estonian independence.
Editor: Andrew Whyte