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Estonia to provide 80 000 euros of project funding to Estonian cultural associations abroad



A total of 87 applications were submitted to the two project competitions organised by Estonia 100 and the Estonian government’s Compatriots’ Programme, of which 28 are to receive support. Nine of the projects are dedicated specifically to Estonia’s upcoming centenary celebrations, while the remaining 19 will help Estonian communities abroad organise cultural and educational projects or participate in cultural events in Estonia.

The amount allocated to Estonian cultural associations abroad has doubled in comparison with earlier years, with a total budget of 80 000 euros. This increase is due to the ongoing preparations for Estonia’s centenary and the desire to have grand celebrations marking this important anniversary both in Estonia and in Estonian communities in other countries.

Kristina Pirgop, Head of Partnership Relations at the Integration and Migration Foundation ‘Our People’ (MISA) says the funding will help Estonians living abroad preserve the Estonian culture. “We want for there to continue to be events that help preserve Estonian culture and language beyond our borders, and for cultural associations and creative people to forge even closer ties in anticipation of Estonia 100” she said. “This year we’ll also support the participation of a number of Estonian groups from abroad in the Youth Song and Dance Celebration this summer.”

Heilika Pikkov, Manager of the International Programme for Estonia 100 and Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, is pleased that great proposals for ways to celebrate the centenary were sent from so many Estonian communities around the world.  “Support has been allocated both to already established projects like the EstDocs film festival in Canada, which is planning a special programme, and completely new projects. One example is ‘Swing across the Sea in Pirkanmaa’, which will involve Estonian children and young people living in Finland in the celebrations and take participants back to 1918 and the 1920s through dance, film and games. The project will culminate in an Estonia 100 costume party that will be true to the period,” Pikkov added.

Anne-Ly Reimaa, adviser with the Cultural Diversity Department of the Ministry of Culture, says that Estonians living all over the world are linked by the Estonian language, culture and history as well as by shared traditions and values. “Working together towards common goals expands and recognises the importance of being Estonian abroad, both for Estonians living here and Estonians living somewhere else,” she said. “It’s wonderful to know that so many plans will come to life with the support of the state.”

The winning applicants include the EstDocs Film Festival, the Helsingin Estin Laululapset song studio in Finland, the London Estonian Society, Rakvere Theatre Foundation, the Association of Estonians in Sweden, the Estival Association in Sweden, the Estonian Archive in Australia and the Norwegian-Estonian Association.

The successful applicants in the Compatriots’ Programme project competition include the Foundation for Estonian Arts and Letters in the United States, the San Francisco Estonian Society, the Estonian Community in Lithuania, the Estonian League of the West Coast Inc, the Estonian Cultural Society in Germany, the Connecticut Estonian School, the Washington Estonian Society, the ‘Kaja’ Mixed Choir in St Petersburg, the Estonian Folk Dance and Folk Music Associations, the St Petersburg Estonian Society, the Estonian Cultural Association in Berlin, the St John’s Church in St Petersburg Fund, Kotkajärve ‘Forest University’, the Estonian Studies Centre, the Luxembourgish Estonian Society, the London Estonian Society, the Toronto Estonian School Choir, the Miksteater touring theatre and the Estonian House in the Netherlands.

The project competitions were organised by Government Office, the Ministry of Culture, the Council of the Compatriots’ Programme and the Integration and Migration Foundation ‘Our People’ (MISA).

The applications were evaluated by representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and Research, Government Office and MISA.

The Estonia 100 centenary celebrations will begin in April 2017 and continue through to February 2020, when a century will have passed from the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty. The anniversary represents the grandest celebration in the nation’s history, with all Estonians in Estonia and abroad invited to help organise and join in the festivities. More information on the centenary programme is available at

There is also a photo attached. Author: Peeter Põldre. Estonian kids celebrating Estonian Independence Day in Toronto.

For further information please contact:

Heilika Pikkov
Manager of the International Programme for Estonia 100 and Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Telephone: +372 5691 2091

Kristina Pirgop
Director of Partnership Relations, MISA
Telephone: +372 659 9024