As a result of an application round conducted by the Integration Foundation, 22 initiatives of foreign Estonian cultural associations which will take place in different parts of the world this year are to receive a total of almost 40,000 euros in support from the budget of the Ministry of Culture as part of the Countrymen Programme.
“We took over the running of the application rounds for Countrymen Programme support back in 2015,” explained Kristina Pirgop, the Head of National Minority Activities with the Integration Foundation and the organiser of the application round. “Through it we help to implement the programme each year, strengthening cooperative ties between Estonia and people from Estonia who are living abroad.”
Anne-Ly Reimaa, the Head of International Relations in Integration at the Ministry of Culture, says that the ministry considers it very important to keep in touch with and support foreign Estonian communities. “It’s one way of contributing to the preservation and evolution of Estonian language and culture and of passing on the values, traditions, behaviours and lifestyles characteristic of Estonia’s cultural space from one generation to the next, even in communities abroad,” she said. “Our goal is to support the activities of Estonian cultural associations in other countries and to showcase local cultural events for Estonians all over the globe.”
The priorities for this year’s application round were the involvement of foreign Estonian cultural collectives in the 27th Song Celebration and 20th Dance Celebration being held in Tallinn this summer and initiatives aimed at youngsters.
A variety of initiatives will be receiving support. The Estonian Choir of San Francisco and the Siller Mixed Choir of Helsinki, as well as Estonians who reside in the Caucuses, will receive funding to allow them to participate in the Song Celebration in Tallinn. The Dance Celebration Museum will receive support for the organisation of a free dance concert of foreign Estonian cultural associations entitled Estonia Connects Us on Freedom Square in Tallinn on 7 July, which will feature the Neevo dance ensemble of the Estonian Cultural Association of St Petersburg (which is also being supported as part of the application round).
ESTO2019, the international gathering of Estonians ahead of the Song and Dance Celebrations, will also be granted funding. It will take place from 27 June-4 July in Helsinki, Tartu and Tallinn.
The Estonian community in Toronto will receive support for the organisation of Estonian Music Week and the Latitude44 information technology conference. The running of the Estonian Cultural Days in New York and Bonn and the organisation of the Masters of Our Own Homes: Estonia at 100 travelling exhibition in Chicago will also be given funding, and the Tuglas Association will receive support to put on the Martin markkinat festival in Tampere, Finland.
The Estonian Language Club in Gothenburg will be given funding for a Lotte theatre performance, and children’s author Mika Keränen for a tour of three Swedish cities. The Estonian community in London will be holding study days connected to Estonian cultural heritage and folk culture for children and teenagers, while in Belgium there will be music-themed nature heritage days. The students at the Estonian School in Rīga will be able to continue their folk dance lessons thanks to support from the Countrymen Programme, while to the north, the Estonian Youth of Finland in Helsinki will receive support in maintaining their skills in their mother tongue and furthering their awareness of Estonian cultural space.
Funding from the application round will also be granted for the publishing of the Estonian-language Peterburi Teataja newspaper in St Petersburg so as to preserve the link between Estonians living in different regions of the Russian Federation.
The aim of the Countrymen Programme 2014-2020 is to reinforce the connection of Estonians living abroad with Estonia and Estonian culture. The programme’s application rounds were conducted by the Ministry of Culture until 2015. The programme was overseen by the National Archives from 2009-2013.
The list of the applicants who have been granted support in this year’s application round (along with the names of their projects and the amounts they will receive) can be found online at https://integratsioon.ee/sites/default/files/valiseesti_kultuuriseltsid.pdf.
Estonian Culture Days in New York 2018. Source – ev100.ee.