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Independence Day Greeting 2021

Australia is far from our homeland Estonia, and far from the other Estonians around the world. 

Image: Visit Estonia Kaarel Mikkin

The majority of Estonians who landed in Australia arrived after the second world war– timewise, the Estonian connection is also slipping further and further away.

But somehow we always knew, where ever we were around the world, that keeping Estonian nationality and culture alive where Estonians established their homes is extremely important – every Estonian is worth it, Estonian culture is worth it!

We always knew in Australia – Activities that we do together ensure our greater purpose – to keep and constantly recreate a strong and lasting bond between Estonian background people. 

We have people in Australia who live and promote Estonian culture for all their lives. 

Today we celebrate and recognise just a few, as we the AESL give our thanks to some of our outstanding Estonians every year on Independence Day. This year’s thank you goes to – Imbi Semmelweis, Siiri Iismaa, Hilja Toom, Kadri Auväärt, Peeter Kruup, for their many years of contribution to Estonian life in Australia. 

We have a complicated year behind us. But also an interesting thing happened in 2020 – the effects of the corona pandemic brought us closer together.

Both, the new generations of Estonians in Australia, and the Estonians around the world – we connected in new ways. 

On world level, 2020 saw the launch of the Global Estonian Programme. 

The Global Estonian Programme kicked off by developing a common field of information. 

We have two groups of Estonians – people with Estonian roots who live permanently abroad, and people who will eventually return to homeland.

There will be a database for young people who are Estonian students studying abroad. There will be database for Estonians currently working abroad. This database will promote and support career prospects for returning to Estonia, to find a professional job and to create connections with potential employers.  The database will work for both – for Estonian background people born elsewhere who want the “Estonian experience” and for those temporarily abroad to come back home.

There will be a platform to keep contact and share events between people who are involved in cultural activities and wish to promote Estonian life abroad.  

In 2020 we started celebrating events and Estonia’s anniversaries together, in unison, all around the world – in real time or by various digital solutions. 

In Australia we had zoom folk dance events, we had links to singing events and exhibitions, where all Estonians could virtually come together regardless if born here or in Estonia or elsewhere in the world. This created a major excitement that we only have had at Eesti Paevad Festivals. We absolutely need the enthusiastic , inspired and inspiring Estonians to take this fantastic pathway into the future.

In August 2021 we celebrate the 30 years of restoration of the Republic of Estonia’s independence.

It is important that all will gather to celebrate, home or away, since all Estonians, including foreign communities, played an important role in restoring Estonia’s independence and building the country. 

Dear Estonians in Australia, AESL wish you a joyful Independence Day celebrations and success in enterprises that take will take us to the future.

Happy Independence Day!

Long live Estonia! Elagu Eesti! 

24.02.2021

Sirje Jogi