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Dmitri Moskovtsev: We are looking for options to provide the necessary services to all interested parties
You have been the Head of the Integration Foundation for two months – how do you like it here?
In short, I like it very much! The last two months in this new position have been extremely eventful and exciting. Starting from my first day at work, I focused on learning more about the team and partners of the Integration Foundation and on acquiring a deeper understanding of every area of activity. I was positively surprised about the extent of the cooperation network of the foundation – meeting all the partners and discussing cooperation will take a considerable amount of time. Another surprise was the extent of the operations of our organisation: we provide various services, support important projects during the application stages, and organise activities that help to increase the cohesion of the society. However, the most vital aspect is our motivated and hard-working team and it is pure joy to work with them towards a better society.
What can clients expect from the Foundation in the coming years?
Many of the activities and services of the Integration Foundation (such as language courses and camps or events for practising language) have a significantly higher number of applicants than we can accommodate. Together with the Ministry of Culture, we are looking for opportunities to provide the necessary services to all interested parties. Among other things, we will focus on developing Estonian Language Houses, which will expand their activities to the Lääne-Harju and Lüganuse rural municipalities this year. We are certainly going to continue developing the self-service system to further facilitate participation in our activities for our clients.
The main goal of the Integration Foundation is supporting the cohesion of the society. In your opinion, what keeps us united?
Estonia has a diverse society. This is an extremely valuable aspect of our culture which we must emphasise more. On the other hand, finding common ground between different nationalities, generations, or the representatives of communities is often complicated. I think that contact and communication between people is important for that. When people communicate, they share their opinions, joys, and possible fears – all of which help to understand each other better.
The latest integration survey indicates that contacts between nationalities have increased over time but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We are working towards creating programmes and organising events where Estonian residents who have never met each other before could meet and, why not, even become friends. Excellent examples of this are the Language Friends programme and the Estonian-Russian or Estonian-English tandem camps, where true cohesion magic happens in addition to practising Estonian. I would like to use this moment to sincerely thank all our volunteers and mentors!
Registration for free Estonian courses in the self-service of the Integration Foundation is about to end. The courses are free and intended for adults from the age of 18.
Contact language courses take place in Tartu, Pärnu, Valga, Tapa, Sillamäe, Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve, Tallinn, and Narva. In addition, online courses are held for students across Estonia. The courses take place at the training partners selected as part of the Integration Foundation’s procurement and in Estonian language houses.
In the spring semester of 2022, 1,200 people completed the Estonian language course, and a total of 1,730 people will study in the summer and autumn seasons.
The next registration for courses will take place at the beginning of the next semester in the Integration Foundation’s self-service. We recommend all those interested in language learning to sign up as customers in the self-service to be the first to find out about available study spots. More information on the self-service: integratsioon.ee/en/iseteenindus. For those who do not have the possibility of using the internet-based self-service, the foundation’s advisers will help them choose language learning opportunities and sign up for them by calling +372 800 9999 (free of charge) or by sending an e-mail to [email protected].
At the end of September, the Integration Foundation will also open registration in Lääne-Harju municipality in Paldiski.
You can register on an ongoing basis for free Estonian language courses (up to level B1) meant for applying for Estonian citizenship, additional information: https://www.integratsioon.ee/en/language-training-apply-estonian-citize….
New event plans for practicing communication skills have been completed by the Estonian language houses of Integratsion Foundation. We offer thematic language practice opportunities for all levels of language skills in Tallinn, Pärnu and Pärnumaa, Narva, Sillamäe, online, as well as in new locations such as Lüganuse parish and Lääne-Harju parish.
The Narva Estonian language house offers good old series of events such as Mokalaat, film showings of new Estonian cinema, and cultural meetings. In October, the Matsalu Nature Film Festival will be once again brought to Narva. The basics of improvisation will be taught in the new series of improv workshops. The series of study trips on the Onion Route, liked by many students, will be returning. The residents of Sillamäe will be offered the opportunity to participate in a social club, led by a journalist from Põhjarannik.
The event schedule of the Tallinn Estonian language house is also highly diverse and offers a multitude of exciting events. The ‘Church Fridays’ will continue, there will be meetings with writers, cooking club meetings, study tours, and a trip to Tartu, as well as many other exciting things for people with varying interests.
The Tallinn Estonian language house again offers activities for the Estonian language learners in Pärnu and Pärnumaa. The traditional Pärnu social club meetings will continue, however there are also many new things to look forward to: a sound journey with rare instruments, an ‘ugrimugri’ party with maris, and a trip to the homestead of a famous Estonian writer.
Starting from autumn, Estonian language houses will offer language practice events in the Lääne-Harju and Lüganuse parishes, where participants can expect discussions, craft workshops, lace classes, trips, etc.
The event calendar of the language houses can be found here: www.integratsioon.ee/en/kalender. The language-practising events can be registered to via the self-service environment where all events of the current month are open for registration and the events of the following month are displayed for making plans.
Since 8 August, all language cafés across Estonia are back in full swing to offer a pleasant opportunity to practice your Estonian speaking skills.
The language cafés provide support for independent Estonian studies and a chance to practice to those who want to speak the language – supplement their vocabulary, practice independent learning, and chat on everyday topics in a relaxed environment. Language cafés are held all over Estonia free of charge.
Situations and topics that arise in daily life are discussed at the cafés. These include subjects like introducing yourself, looking for work, self-improvement, communicating with colleagues, travelling, enjoying hobbies, celebrating special occasions and anniversaries, as well as everyday situations, such as attending doctor’s appointments and dealing with officials.
The language cafés offer a total of 240 meeting opportunities per week. The language café schedule and registration information can be found on the Integration Foundation’s website or in the self-service. The language cafés’ schedule will be continuously updated.
Language cafés are held every week all over Estonia: In Tallinn, Maardu, Narva, Sillamäe, Kohtla-Järve, Jõhvi, Narva-Jõesuu, Tartu, Pärnu, and Valga. There is also an online language café held twice a week.
Language cafés are supported from the resources of the ‘Development and implementation of advisory and information system’ activity 5.1 of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project nr 2014-2020.2.06.004005006.01.15-0001 of the European Social Fund.
In addition to regular language courses, the Narva and Tallinn Estonian language houses offer opportunities to improve your skills in a total of 12 different special courses, both in contact learning and online. Participants from all over Estonia are welcome to the online courses.
The special courses of the upcoming academic season are primarily intended for the language house students who have completed or are completing language level courses. Invitations will be sent from mid-September to language learners of the corresponding level who have also signed up as a customer in the Integration Foundation’s self-service. The Integration Foundation’s advisors can also refer you to special courses.
This season, we will be continuing a good tradition in the Narva Estonian language house by offering the popular digital pronunciation course, an online course entitled ‘Journeys through Estonia’, as well as a playful grammar course. Educational courses such as 100 Years of Estonian Music have been added to the list of special courses. In the special courses of the Tallinn Estonian language house, we will be talking about Estonian culture, everyday life, as well as cultures of the world.
The event calendar of the language houses can be found here: www.integratsioon.ee/en/kalender. The language-practising events can be registered to via the self-service environment where all events of the current month are open for registration and the events of the following month are displayed for making plans.The exciting projects of the language houses can also be kept up with on Facebook: become a follower of the language houses of Tallinn and Narva!
Applications are welcome to the Integration Foundation for receiving awards for projects carried out in the field of integration. The deadline for applications is September 1st.
The integration prize fund is EUR 4,000. The prizes will be awarded in four categories and the best project promoter of each category will receive a prize of EUR 1,000.
Applications for awards can be submitted in the following categories:
- The building blocks of integration (acknowledging the cultural diversity of Estonia and the targeted long-term activities to promote integration);
- Bridge Builder of the Year (implementation of cooperation projects between native Estonians and non-Estonian residents);
- Message Carrier of the Year (development of attitudes supporting integration through the media);
- Spark of the Year (implementation of outstanding activities in the field of integration).
Applications can be submitted in several categories, but in this case, different projects or activities must be proposed in each category. The competition is for the projects or activities which were initiated on or after 1 September last year and will be completed by the end of August this year at the latest; there are no time limits applicable to the category of ‘The building blocks of integration’.
The full information about the competition and application form can be found HERE (in Estonian)
The awards are funded by the Ministry of Culture. The names of the prize-winners will be published on the website of the Integration Foundation and the awards will be presented at the end of 2022.
In July, registration began to the mandatory and free adaptation programme for Ukrainian war refugees who have been granted temporary protection, consisting of adaptation training and Estonian language courses. Nearly 4,000 people have completed adaptation training to date, and nearly 2,000 have started or are about to start learning Estonian.
The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board will send a referral letter for participation in the adaptation programme to all adults who have been granted temporary protection. After that, you must sign up for both the adaptation training and Estonian language courses yourself in the online environment www.settleinestonia.ee.
‘Participation in the adaptation programme is essential to all Ukrainian refugees who have been granted temporary protection in order to cope independently in Estonia and to adapt more smoothly. We ask all those who have already received a referral letter from the Police and Border Guard Board to sign up for training as soon as possible,’ said Kerli Zirk, an advisor of the Cultural Diversity Department of the Estonian Ministry of Culture.
- Adaptation programme module for persons eligible for temporary protection: www.settleinestonia.ee/programme/temporary-protection-module.
- A-1 level Estonian language courses for persons eligible for temporary protection: www.settleinestonia.ee/programme/temporary-protection-lang-module.
Trainings will be organised in all regions of Estonia where persons eligible for temporary protection reside, they can also be completed online.The adaptation programme is led by the Ministry of Culture. Read more HERE.
A large study of the Estonian diaspora conducted by the Institute of Baltic Studies has been completed
According to various estimations, 150,000 – 200,000 Estonians, people from or connected to Estonia live outside Estonia, which makes up nearly 15% of the Estonian population. At the beginning of the summer, a large-scale study was published, which reveals the identity, attitudes, and expectations of Estonians living abroad regarding Estonia.
The results of the study show that:
- global Estonian communities – despite their largely permanent life outside Estonia – are in no way distant, absent, or estranged from Estonia. Most of them are satisfied with their life in their (new) country of residence and have adapted there, but at the same time their sense of belonging to Estonia remains strong;
- more than half of the respondents celebrate holidays related to Estonia and, similarly to Estonians living in Estonia, they are also active in exercising their right to vote by voting in Estonian elections. A large part of families with children wish to pass on the Estonian language, culture, and customs to their children, and the vast majority wish to retain their citizenship of the Republic of Estonia;
- the global Estonian community is very diverse – there is no such thing as an ideal ‘global Estonian’, just as there is no single ‘global Estonian community’. The reasons for the emigration of Estonians are increasingly diverse and in combination with several factors that cause and promote emigration;
- significant differences in attitudes occur both across age groups and between generations, more than half of the families seem to be mixed families, and even if the vast majority of the global Estonian community has Estonian as their mother tongue, nearly a fifth of them have actual Estonian language skills below that of a so-called native speaker.
You can find the complete report of the study on the website of the Institute of Baltic Studies. Photo: nansiphotography.com / estonianworld.com
Since Marika Sulg has lived in St. Petersburg for a long time, participated in international programmes and language camps, and is well acquainted with the worries and joys of Estonians in St. Petersburg, she can understand the challenges of those returning to Estonia. In addition to Estonian, Marika offers counselling in Russian and English.
The purpose of the counselling service is to offer support to compatriots who have developed an interest and desire to return to Estonia, as well as to those who have already started a new life in Estonia. The advisor helps to plan a smoother return to Estonia, including both practical information as well as topics related to re-adjustment in Estonia.
Counselling is still also conducted by the Head of the Compatriots Service, Kaire Cocker, thus we can offer returnees more support than previously.
During the summer, we organised various camps supporting integration and language learning for young Estonians living abroad, adult learners of Estonian, Romas of Valga, and families from Lääne-Harju parish whose home language is not Estonian.
Language camps for young Estonians living abroad were held in Viljandimaa. In the three shifts of the camp, a total of 66 young people from twenty foreign countries, as well as 24 local young people participated, with whom they practiced spoken Estonian and talked about life in Estonia. The young people made friends from compatriots, practiced spoken language and studied grammar, and improved their knowledge of Estonian culture.
Estonian language houses organised various camps offering both language practice and cultural immersion for those who attended language courses and for other interested parties. Estonian-Russian and Estonian-English tandem camps were held, as well as language learning camps in Saaremaa, Nelijärve, and a city camp at the Estonian Museum of Natural History.
From this year, the activities of the Estonian language house in Tallinn also expanded to Lääne-Harju parish. As the first activity, the families there were offered the opportunity to participate in the Fairy tale camps in Vasalemma and Paldiski, where they improved their vocabulary of the Estonian language and gained more courage to use the language in speech through various activities.
Note this on your calendar: the international conference on integration will take place this year on 10–11 November
The Integration Foundation’s annual international conference on integration will take place on 10–11 November in Tallinn and its theme is ‘Together or Apart: Searching for the Middle Ground’. The conference brings together internationally recognised experts, researchers, and policy-makers, and can also be followed online.
The theme of this year’s conference deals with segregation in various areas. We will talk about the dangers that might await us if we stay too separate and distant from one another, how other countries have gone about finding a balance, and how we can move forward so that society could be a little more together and a little less apart.
The main speaker of the conference is OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov.
In addition, Dr Gemma Catney, a Population and Social Geographer at Queen’s University Belfast, Dr James Laurence, a Senior Research Officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute and Associate Professor at Trinity College Dublin, Dr Judit Kende, a social psychologist working at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Hanno Kruse, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam, Laura Kirss, a doctoral student at the University of Tartu and a Science Adviser at the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, and Dr Patrick Kotzur, an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at Durham University will be taking the stage.
Participation in the conference is free, registration will open at the beginning of October. You can participate on site in Tallinn or by following the live broadcast of the conference.
29 August is the last day to submit proposals for the public procurement ‘Estonian language A1-level training for temporary protection recipients II’. The 2022 application round for self-initiated projects aimed at foreign communities in Estonia is open until 5 September. Until the beginning of September, we also await applicants for the 2022 awards in the field of integration in four different categories.
The opportunity to organise more culture and sports events in Ida-Virumaa will be created in the application round ‘Sports and culture events promoting entrepreneurship in Ida-Virumaa II round’, opened in September, with a budget of 150,000 euros.
29. august on viimane päev esitada pakkumusi riigihankele „Eesti keele A1-tasemel õpe ajutise kaitse saajatele II”. Eesti väliskogukondadele suunatud omaalgatuslike projektide taotlusvoor 2022 on avatud 5. septembrini. Septembri alguseni ootame kandideerijaid ka lõimumisvaldkonna 2022. aasta preemiatele neljas erinevas kategoorias.
Võimalust Ida-Virumaal rohkem kultuuri- ja spordisündmusi korraldada loob septembrist avanev taotlusvoor “Ida-Virumaa ettevõtlust edendavad spordi- ja kultuurisündmused II voor” eelarvega 150 000 eurot.
Information on the announced calls is published on the Integration Foundation's website.
Information on events that take place by our organisation, participation or support, can be found in the calendar published on our website.