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Irene Käosaar new head of Integration Foundation


The Supervisory Board of the Integration Foundation elected Irene Käosaar as its new head – a person who helped to launch the language immersion programme that has gained so many supporters in Estonia. For the last 10 years, Käosaar has been working as the head of department at the Ministry of Education and Research, being a leader in the transition to Estonian-language studies, an initiator of support projects for schools with Russian as the language of instruction and one of the creators and developers of the multicultural schools model.

Käosaar is well aware of the activities of the foundation, as she has, in essence, been involved with the organisation since its establishment in 1998. Käosaar was the head of the Language Immersion Centre of the foundation from 1999–2007, a Member of Supervisory Board of the foundation in the years 2011–2013 and when working as the head of department at the Ministry of Education and Research a cooperation partner of the foundation.

“I think that the foundation has developed from a competence centre into the organiser of more technical activities. I hope the role of content-related competence grows and we can achieve more to change social attitudes,” Käosaar said. She added that according to her view, the challenges of integration have shifted direction as compared to 20 years ago and it is more important to deal with cooperation and developing mutual understanding and respect, especially with youth.

According to Head of the Supervisory Board Kristina Kallas, the foundation will get a leader with good strategic management skills and who has also shown herself to be a great achiever, knowing the field and the challenges of integration.

Käosaar’s work to date has been recognised by the President of the Republic. In 2004, she received the education award of the President of the Republic for the management of a successful language immersion programme and implementation of a new language learning methodology in Estonia. In 2013, the Republic of Estonia honoured her with the order of the White Star, Fourth Class (Valgetähe IV klassi teenetemärk).

Käosaar starts as the head of the Integration Foundation on 1 September 2017.

The Integration Foundation’s responsibility is to ensure that those who live in Estonia share the same values and form an active part of civil society, and that national minorities have the chance to preserve their languages and cultures.

For further information please contact:

Kristina Kallas

Head of the Supervisory Board of the Integration Foundation

Telephone: +372 511 8311