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Open invitation to international integration conference
Estonian language houses launch operations one step at a time
Estonian language fair to be held once again
Would you like a coffee with your Estonian studies?
Want to start speaking Estonian? Then come along to one of our language and culture clubs!
‘Culture Step’ proves incredibly popular
Who wants to get to grips with Estonian culture?
Loomehäkk awards go to integration solutions
How do you gauge the quality of an international university?
New procurement specialist joins foundation
A fresh monthly newsletter in English provides information on Estonian civil society


Open invitation to international integration conference

‘My Home, Our Home: What Unites Us in a Multicultural Community’

15 & 16 November 2018 | Tallinn

Radisson Blu Sky Hotel (Rävala pst 3)


This two-day conference will bring together internationally recognised experts, policy-shapers, scientists and visionaries in the field of integration from Estonia, elsewhere in Europe and around the world. As part of panels and workshops they will discuss key issues in integration, come up with solutions and share best practice.



  • The keynote speaker will be David Laitin (USA), a professor of political science at Stanford University, who with his colleague Professor Jens Hainmueller heads up the Immigration Policy Lab ( He has published a number of books, including Identity in Formation: The Russian-Speaking Populations in the Near Abroad (1998), which analyses the identity of the Russian-speaking population in the post-Soviet era in Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
  • Also speaking at the conference will be Keith Banting, the head of public policy studies and professor of political science at Queen’s University in Canada, who was one of the developers of the Multiculturalism Policy Index and is an expert on public and social policy in Canada and the OECD countries.
  • Human Library creator Ronni Abergel from Denmark will likewise be speaking at the event. The Human Library format is one in which people ‘lend out’ their own stories in lieu of books.
  • Representing Estonia will be Eva K. Ponomarjov, who is responsible for the ‘Superheroes’ project, which enables girls between the ages of 13 and 17 to work together and gain knowledge of the world of business and enterprise. This knowledge later helps them make an informed choice as to what they want to do in life. The project is targeted at girls in order to boost equality on the labour market. The working language of the project is English, enabling girls from different backgrounds to take part.
  • Olga Proskurova from Latvia is involved in the Aktis Strategy project and was part of the team that launched the Baltic Media Accelerator (BMA). The BMA is designed to assist new and existing media companies in creating content for a pan-Baltic audience (including Russian-speaking viewers).
  • Yves Breem (France), an analyst with the International Migration Division Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs of the OECD, will also be speaking at the conference.  


Take a look at the programme and register here

Participation is free of charge, but registration is required.

The working language of the conference will be English, with simultaneous interpreting into Estonian and Russian. The event will also be broadcast live online at


Estonian language houses launch operations one step at a time


It will be a little while yet until the opening of the Estonian language houses in their actual locations – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t slowly but surely launching their operations.


Five teachers took up their posts in the houses in Tallinn and Narva in September, one of their first tasks being to conduct the placement testing for those who had registered for their courses. The courses themselves began on 24 September. A total of 128 people are currently studying Estonian at the A1 and A2 levels at both of the centres.


On 23 September the Tallinn house showed its face at the ‘Raamat rahvale’ book fair, for which a variety of Estonian language teaching materials and dictionaries had been collected on the initiative of director Olga Selištševa. Those attending the fair were able to pick the books up and take them home completely free of charge. The language level of those at the fair was checked using a 5th-grade Estonian language test. The highest-scoring examinees were awarded a prize.



Estonian language fair to be held once again


The ‘KU-ky’ Estonian language fair held for the first time in spring will not be the last – plans are already afoot for a follow-up event.


The inaugural fair, which was attending by 1400 people in Tallinn and Narva, showed that people’s interest in the latest opportunities to study Estonian and new teaching materials is high.


We have already started planning the second fair and are inviting organisations interested in promoting their Estonian studies-related activities at the event to contact the Integration Foundation’s senior adviser Kätlin Kõverik on +372 659 9032 or at



Would you like a coffee with your Estonian studies?


We invite everyone interested in practising their Estonian to join one of our language cafés, which are held in 18 different locations in Harju and Ida-Viru counties every week.


In Tallinn you can brush up your Estonian at six venues in Lasnamäe, Mustamäe and Haabersti.

There are also weekly café get-togethers in Paldiski, Keila and Maardu.

In Narva the cafés are held each week in three locations, with a further two in Kohtla-Järve and individual cafés in Jõhvi, Kiviõli and Püssi.


The language cafés are open to people who have studied Estonian in the past but lack the confidence to speak it and are seeking support to continue learning the language. Guided and advised by those running the cafés, the participants hone their skills in listening and communicating.


Please note: attendance of the language cafés requires reservation in advance at



Want to start speaking Estonian? Then come along to one of our language and culture clubs!


“The fear that we won’t remember a word or a phrase hangs over our heads every time we open our mouths to speak a foreign language,” said Hungarian interpreter Kató Lomb, who herself was fluent in 16 languages. “And we don’t remember it, precisely because we get caught up with that word or phrase in our heads in our mother tongue.”  With practice and self-discipline we can teach ourselves the words and expressions we need, but we don’t necessarily start talking. It’s a good idea to learn phrases along with words that go with them, and to practise them again and again.

But to start speaking there’s no way around it: we simply have to start speaking. This is exactly the sort of opportunity you get when you come along to an Estonian language and culture club.

Jana Tondi says the language clubs are the right place to look for motivation to learn the language and the feeling that you’re doing okay. “A supportive environment helps you shake off any insecurities really quickly, and before you know it you find yourself speaking Estonian,” she said.


The clubs are being organised in Ida-Viru County, Tartu, Maardu and other towns in Estonia by Change Partners OÜ, the NPO Atlasnet, OÜ Mitteldorf, OÜ Keelepisik and ImmiSchool - Uusimmigrantide Koolituskeskus OÜ in cooperation with the Integration Foundation.


To register, simply choose a suitable club. You’ll find the times and venues here: 


To get an idea of how the clubs work, take a look at,, and


Club activities are financed from the European Social Fund project ‘Activities promoting integration in Estonian society’.


For further information please contact: Jana Tondi, Head of Language and Cultural Immersion | Telephone: +372 659 9069 | E-mail:



‘Culture Step’ proves incredibly popular

The Estonian Institute launched a new project in September entitled ‘Culture Step’ – a series of study trips, lectures and discussions for less-integrated residents and immigrants in Tallinn and Harju County. 

At the opening event on 26 September, the Artis cinema hosted a screening of Joosep Matjus’ epic nature film Tuulte tahutud maa /The Wind-sculpted Land/ about the untamed natural environment of Estonia and a subsequent meet-and-greet with the team behind the film. Those taking part in the programme were issued with special passes.

Lea Kreinin from the Estonian Institute says that interest in the programme has been great. “So far we’ve had more than 120 English-speaking applicants and almost 360 Russian-speaking applicants register for it,” she revealed. “We’ll be accepting them all into the programme, because we don’t want to say no to anyone!”

The project is being financed via the European Social Fund project ‘Activities promoting integration in Estonian society’.

For further information please contact:

Valeria Mihhailova | E-mail: (Russian)

Lea Kreinin | E-mail: (English)



Who wants to get to grips with Estonian culture?


In addition to language courses, the Integration Foundation works with the Estonian National Museum (ENM) and Tartu International House to support cultural, musical, artistic, folklore and nature studies and, via inclusive discussions, better socialisation in the community, the generation of real contact between people and the fostering of courage to speak, listen and be heard in Estonian.

The ENM and Tartu International House invite everyone to get involved in Estonian cultural life as part of a variety of creative activities, museum programmes and excursions. This programme of events has now been launched and new groups will start up in October. The programme will last until Christmas before continuing in and carrying on until the end of 2019 with new programmes of activities. The cultural programme is free of charge for everyone who has applied and provides an unbeatable opportunity to discover southern Estonia, including Tartu County.


Participants will meet with well-known people who will tell them about Estonian history and the country’s cultural symbols, creative works, natural environment, customs and traditions. They will also discuss their own experiences of different cultures and what makes transitioning from one to another easy or difficult. In addition to what they learn about culture in taking part in the programme, the participants will also get the chance to expand their networks and visit some exciting places in Tartu. The programme is structured so as to be as interactive and dynamic as possible.


Activities will be spaced out between September and Christmas, giving participants the option of choosing those most suitable to them time-wise. Each participant can attend up to five training days (lasting up to three hours, with breaks) and five excursions. At the end of the programme the participants will be issued with certificates. People who speak Estonian as their native language or at a very high level and who want to share their cultural experiences and give their take on Estonian culture and Tartu are also welcome to participate in the programme.  

The programme is being organised by the ENM, Tartu International House and the Friends of the ENM society.

Further information: (EST) |

(ENG) |

(RUS) or


The project is being financed via the European Social Fund project ‘Activities promoting integration in Estonian society’.


For further information please contact: Jana Tondi | Head of Language and Cultural Immersion | E-mail: | Telephone: +372 659 9069




Loomehäkk awards go to integration solutions


Loomehäkk, the biggest development marathon in the creative sector anywhere in the Baltic States, brought 116 success-driven people to Mektory in mid-September, who between them formed 18 international teams. Over a period of 48 hours they developed their ideas to the point where they were able to present them to the judges.


Integration is an important issue and this came out in the concepts submitted for judging. The 3000-euro award sponsored by the Integration Foundation was undoubtedly a motivating factor in this. The special integration award was presented to a team calling themselves ‘The Game’, who came up with a humorous, fact-based board game that foreigners can play with their Estonian colleagues, learning about the country and its people in the process. The same team were awarded the special prize sponsored by the Creative Estonia development centre for the creative economy: a place in the unique web-based development programme PESA.


Third place in this year’s competition went to another integration-related project devised by the ‘Integradio’ team. Their concept was to develop a functioning shared platform for podcasts that would bring all shows together in one place and thereby make them easy to find for anyone interested. Such a platform would give foreigners producing podcasts in or about Estonia the chance to make their shows known to a wider audience. This idea secured the team third place overall and won them prizes from Enterprise Estonia, the EMTA, Mektory and Brand Manual.


Held for the sixth time from 14-16 September, the 48-hour Loomehäkk marathon took as its theme for 2018 ‘Creative Tech’ – covering creative technology, technological creativity, integration and physical products, also emphasising the circular economy and zero-waste business models. The wide range of themes attracted creative people, students, designers, IT specialists, entrepreneurs and others from very different fields.


All of the pictures from the event can be found online at


Led by the Ministry of Education and Research, Loomehäkk forms part of the ‘Edu ja Tegu’ enterprise programme whose aim is to promote the teaching and learning of entrepreneurship at all levels of education and to foster enterprising ways of thinking. It is financed from the European Social Fund and the creative economy development measure of the European Regional Development Fund.



How do you gauge the quality of an international university?


Since autumn 2017 the Integration Foundation has been participating in the Nordplus Horizontal project ‘Study Quality in Terms of Multiculturalism in the Baltic Countries’. The aim of the project is to define ‘study quality’ and develop a method by which to describe and enhance it. Best practice has been collected and the main challenges facing international colleges and universities analysed as part of the project.


The institutions taking part in the project are the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences, Tallinn Health Care College, Lääne-Viru College, Tartu Health Care College, the Integration Foundation, Utena College (Lithuania), the Karalius Mindaugas Centre for Vocational Education (Lithuania), Turiba University (Latvia), the P. Stradins College of Medicine of the University of Latvia and the Latvian Higher Education Export Association.


The results of the project will be presented at the international conference bearing its name at Tallinn Health Care College (Kännu 67) on 26 October. Registration for the conference is open online at




New procurement specialist joins foundation


Dmitri Koroljov, a specialist in procurements, will be taking up a post at the Integration Foundation on 1 October. 


Dmitri graduated with a BA in Law from the University of Tartu in 2017 and is continuing with Master’s studies in the same field this academic year. As part of his Bachelor’s degree he authored two studies focussing on the legal aspects of public procurements, both of which earned him 3rd place in the national competition for student research (in 2015 and 2017).



A fresh monthly newsletter in English provides information on Estonian civil society


The Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (NENO) has started publishing a fresh monthly newsletter in English, focused on the Estonian civil society. A similar newsletter is published weekly in Estonian and biweekly in Russian. 


The Good Citizen monthly newsletter will include news, articles, reports and analyses on the Estonian civil society – everything an active citizen might be interested in. 


Please give us any feedback on information you would find useful in such a newsletter by mailing us at, share this with your friends and of course, subscribe to the newsletter.