General elections for EANC’s XXII Council will take place this year.  If you value the work we do, consider running for Council – share your thoughts and experience, represent your fellow Estonian Americans, and make a difference!  There are many opportunities to work on committees and special projects related to your interests.

Members are elected for four years.  The Council size can vary from 20 to 50 members, depending on the number of candidates.  The Council meets at least once a year, usually in the Fall, to review past activities and to vote on the upcoming year’s budget and activity plan. 

Candidates must live in the United States and be at least 21 years old on the day of the election, and either possess Estonian citizenship or be eligible for it, belong to the Estonian community through family relationship, or certify on the election ballot to being Estonian.

Application form is here, or from Jüri Tint, Chair of the Election Committee (jurit@masonwestinc.com). Applications must be submitted via e-mail no later than March 31, 2018.

VOTINGDo your part!  It is up to you to make sure your viewpoints and concerns are represented!

A final list of candidates will appear in Vaba Eesti Sõna newspaper and on the EANC website (www.estosite.org), together with the election date. 

Ballots will be sent to all addresses in the EANC database.  If you are receiving this Teataja newsletter, then you will receive a ballot.  Please notify Linda Rink of any address changes as soon as possible! (Contact: erku@estosite.org or 215-546-5863)


ERKÜ otsib Esinduskogu kandidaate - tähtaeg on 31. märts, 2018.a.!

Olge rohkem Ameerika eesti ühiskonnaga seotud! Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides XXII Esinduskogu valimised toimuvad sel kevadel ja ERKÜ aktiivselt otsib kandidaate!  Liikmed on valitud neljaks aastaks ja saavad kokku vähemalt kord aastas eelmise aasta aruannete kinnitamiseks, algava aasta eelarve ja tegevuskava vastuvõtmiseks. Aastakoosolek toimub sügisel.

Kandidaadid peavad elama Ameerika Ühendriikides ja olema valimistähtpäeval vähemalt 21 aastat vana, omama õigust saada Eesti kodakonsust, kuuluma USA eesti ühiskonda perekondliku kuuluvuse tõttu, või ennast valimistõendil eestlasena registreerima.

Sooviavalduslehti saab siit. Elektrooniliste sooviavalduste tähtaeg on 31. märts, 2018.a.  Küsimuste puhul kontakti võtta:  Jüri Tint’iga, Valimiste Peakomitee Esimees (jurit@masonwestinc.com).


EANC Annual Meeting/ ERKÜ 2017 aasta koosolek: Nov. 11-12, 2017, St. Petersburg Florida

 EANC Hosts Lively Public Forum in Florida  

In conjunction with its annual meeting, the Estonian American National Council held a well-attended public forum in St. Petersburg, Florida on 11-12 November. The program included panel discussions and a keynote address by Estonian Ambassador Lauri Lepik.  The panels addressed the topics of advocacy in Washington, Estonian entrepreneurship in Florida, and ties between Estonia and the Estonian diaspora.

Panel #1: “Advocacy Rock Stars in Washington” 

Panelists: Michael Sawkiw, Jr., Executive Vice President, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America; Marju Rink-Abel, EANC President; Karin Shuey, EANC Washington DC Director;  Moderator: Eric Suuberg

 The first panel started with a review of Estonian organizations in the U.S., their missions and responsibilities, how they interact, and EANC’s role relative to the other groups.  Next was an overview of the Joint Baltic American National Committee’s (JBANC) work in Washington, which has focused on support for NATO, countering disinformation, and enforcing sanctions on Russia. The importance of working with other diaspora communities that share interest in the same issues was highlighted.  A representative from the Ukrainian-American community finished the discussion, reminding us to keep our legislators engaged in the issues, and that the security and stability of the central and east European region, with Ukraine now on the front lines of defense, is critical to U.S. national security.

Panel #2: “Florida Estonian-American Entrepreneurs”

Panelists: Sigrid Bratic, Partner, Little Greek Fresh Grill franchise restaurants; Merle Liivand, CEO, Swimera; Kaie Põhi-Latterner, Owner, TEC Inc.; Terje Van Schaik, President and co-owner, Greenspeed USA; Moderator: Linda Rink

 The second panel featured four Estonian-American business owners living in Florida, who shared their personal stories that led them to entrepreneurship.  The panelists’ enterprises included a restaurant franchise with 24 locations; a professional swimmer who now welcome others into the sport through coaching, products, and consulting; a green cleaning products company; and a retail systems integration consulting business.  The experiences related by the four women brought forth many questions and highlighted the need for an Estonian American business owners network.

Panel #3: “Estonia and Estonians Abroad – Strengthening the Relationship”

Panelists: Marcus Kolga, President, Estonian Central Council in Canada and Senior Foreign Policy Fellow, MacDonald-Laurier Institute; Renee Meriste, President, Estonian Society of Los Angeles; Marju Rink-Abel, President, Estonian World Council; Moderator: Matti Prima

 The third panel looked at Estonia and its official connections with Estonians in the U.S.  Panelists compared the Estonian government’s diaspora initiatives with those of the other Baltic governments and discussed regional challenges in engaging with the Estonian government.   Debate continued on questions such as which side would benefit more from a stronger government-diaspora relationship, what our communities’ goals would be in seeking more representation, and whether the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Parliament is the more appropriate entity to work with.  The discussion concluded that to make progress on this issue, we need clear goals and a detailed, long-term plan in order to raise awareness in the Estonian government of the benefits of a strengthened relationship with Estonian communities abroad.

Ambassador Lepik’s keynote address at dinner also touched on the relationship between Estonia and Estonians abroad, saying that the government has always endorsed diaspora engagement.  He cited his top priority as establishing a permanent U.S. troop presence in Estonia to send the clearest message possible that the U.S. stands ready to defend Estonia as a frontier nation of NATO and Europe.  His other priorities include developing a stronger business and trade relationship with the U.S. and promoting events in the U.S. that celebrate Estonia’s centennial next year.  More information on those events can be found at the EV100 website, www.ev100.ee. 

The weekend was a positive step in EANC’s initiative to engage with communities throughout the U.S.  EANC’s Florida members were gracious hosts and made all who traveled to the event feel welcome.  The panelists evoked a number of questions and much debate, and their insights and experiences sent participants home with much to consider in how they can support EANC’s mission.  Though options for the next meeting are still under review, the Council looks forward to visiting new communities in the coming years.


ERKÜ shows up to Lääneranniku Eesti Päevad

- By Matti Prima

During Labor Day Weekend, the 33rd Lääneranniku Eesti Päevad (LEP), The West Coast Estonian Days, hosted by the Los Angeles Estonians had a healMai-Liis Bartling sends greetings from EANC to LEP participantsthy representation of members from the Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikdes (“ERKÜ” or the Estonian American National Council “EANC”); all of whom attended on their own account to support the regional celebration of Estonian Culture. This year’s LEP was led by long time LA resident Uve Sillat together with Renee Meriste, who came to the city from Tallinn just eleven years ago.  They and their team arranged and planned a rousing event with some 600 attendees, performers, and participants with notable EANC participation from West Coast EANC representatives Mai-Liis Bartling, who gave an inspiring speech at the opening Gala, Arne Kalm, who moderated numerous panel discussions including Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas discussion on Estonia’s 100th Anniversary Celebration, and Mati Otsmaa’s reconnection with the Puus Brothers Band on the keyboard. Los Angeles-based Advanced Nutrients directed by its CEO, Michael Straumietus who is of Estonian decent, was a major sponsor of this event.

LEP began August 31st on UCLA’s beautiful campus in Westwood and closed on September 4, 2017, at the Eesti Maja (Estonian House) in downtown Los Angeles. Though the majority in attendance came from the West Coast Estonian Associations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, Canada, there were over 60 performers, singers, dancers and presenters who came from Estonia with the support of various local Estonian organizations and government agencies. Travelers, as well as other participants, of Estonian heritage came from various parts of the United States, Canada, Europe and even New Zealand. The event’s non-stop programming included panel discussions on Estonian Companies going Global, Estonian achievements in Hollywood and Film, Alternative Medicinal Opportunities along with various singing, musical and theatrical performances ranging from jazz, rock, opera and traditional folk songs. Included in all of the scheduling was the Folk Festival which not only gave time for fellowship and camaraderie, it comprised of exhilarating folk dancing and motivating songs that included Estonia’s Marek Sadam singing his song “Eesti Naine” (Estonian Woman) with the addition of a humorous twist.

Despite the uncommon weather of 100 + degrees (37+ Celsius), everyone left with renewed friendships, newly formed relationships, and were inspired and motivated by all of the folk dancing, singing and the highly interactive presentations.


EANC Supports Successful JBANC Conference

The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) held its biennial conference on Baltic security on 19-20 May in Washington, DC.  World-class experts, diplomats, regional officials, and JBANC and EANC members came together to discuss issues of concern and connect with lawmakers on solidifying their support. 

The first day of the conference consisted of meetings with Congressional offices, an afternoon briefing by State Department and Congressional staff, and an evening reception on Capitol Hill.  Conference participants made constituent visits with their Senators’ and Representatives’ foreign affairs staff to highlight funding and legislation that benefit Baltic and European security.  In all, meetings were held with five Senate and two House offices.  Their staffers were knowledgeable on the issues, supportive of our priorities and open to new policy ideas from our organizations.

The Friday afternoon briefing took place in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing room, where State Department Senior Advisor to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Scott Rauland and SFRC Legislative Director Chris Socha shared their views on Russia and security in the Baltic region.  They identified several policy priorities, including full enforcement of the Magnitsky sanctions, increasing funding for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA) missions to counter disinformation, getting to the bottom of Russia’s illegal financial operations, and making it clear to the Russian people that the U.S. is on their side and resolute in defending democratic values.  They also mentioned the U.S. and its allies will be watching Russia’s major military exercise, Zapad 2017, planned for this fall along their border with Belarus.  While policy is likely to evolve as more officials are assigned to vacant positions and other developments occur, they expressed confidence in continued support and funding for U.S. security cooperation with the Baltic countries.  Perhaps most significantly, they gave high praise to the diaspora communities for continuing to push on these issues, stating that we wouldn’t see as much progress, knowledge or interest in Congress without these efforts.  They encouraged our groups to continue dialog with leaders in the U.S. and in the European capitals to foster sympathetic voices on both sides of the Atlantic.

The second day of the conference offered two keynote addresses and four panel discussions on timely topics.  Keynote speakers were Ambassadors Kurt Volker and Daniel Fried, who shared the assessments that the U.S. is most healthy, prosperous and successful when other nations are as well, and that what happens in the Baltics truly matters to the U.S.  They expressed confidence in the clear and consistent message of support for NATO that has been voiced by members of the Trump administration so far and expected the President to reinforce that message at the mini NATO summit on May 25th.  NATO’s objective on its eastern border is to maintain a deterrent posture that prevents aggression from the Kremlin by making it clear that there would be nothing to gain from military action there.  Our speakers stated approval of the sanctions and deterrence measures NATO has taken since 2014 and were confident in continued funding and political support for the region.

The panel discussions covered security and cooperation topics, including U.S.-Baltic relations; information and cyber warfare; Nordic cooperation in the Baltic Sea region; and economic implications, focusing on Narva’s status on the Russian border.  The first panel pointed out the dangers of preparing for military engagement when corruption, crime and manipulation of information may pose greater threats.  While NATO provides a credible deterrent against armed conflict, resilience to corruption must come from nations through internal trust-building efforts.  The second panel continued on this theme by emphasizing erosion of government trustworthiness as a main goal of disinformation campaigns.  The West has been reluctant to acknowledge that we are engaged in a complex information war that has evolved since the KGB employed its propaganda tactics in the Soviet era, and may be working better than our adversaries expected.  It will remain a challenge until the U.S. and its allies can educate their populations to be more discriminating in their consumption of news and information.

The third panel addressed the long history of Nordic support for Baltic security, starting with their help in the withdrawal of post-Soviet troops from the region, and highlighted the shared defense outlook and threats that the NATO and non-NATO members in the region face.  They noted that Russia has a couple of advantages over the NATO process, in that the Kremlin does not claim any moral high ground and it can act on decisions much more quickly than NATO’s slow process of consensus.  The Nordics are also challenged by Russian rhetoric claiming that NATO’s buildup of troops in the region is offensive rather than a defensive response to the Kremlin’s own belligerent deployments.  While Sweden and Finland are key partners in the region and the EU is also part of the security posture, integration of actual operations among all the actors will require further development of logistical planning and designation of roles for each country.

The final panel started with a discussion on opposition to free trade among transatlantic partners, then turned a spotlight on Narva’s challenges and successes as a border town with Russia.  While Estonia’s third-largest city is only 4% Estonian, is losing about 1000 residents per year (in part due to the death rate), and has high unemployment rates, EU support has helped them create avenues for jobs and foreign investment.  Cross-border economic cooperation with Russia and Latvia reached €11.9 million between 2007 and 2015.  The city is coming out of the negative representation the Estonian media used toward the region during the earlier years of Estonian independence and is getting more support from the government in integrating the Russian-speaking population.

The conference has received wide praise from participants and audience members alike as a first-rate and very informative event with high-quality speakers and panelists.  Reviewers have pointed out that the topics addressed were both important and covered with substance and clarity.  JBANC looks forward to maintaining the momentum with continued contacts with Congress and the Administration and to hosting the next conference in 2019.

- Karin Shuey


EANC to Assist Young Adults Attending JBANC Conference in May 2017

The Estonian American National Council (EANC) is pleased to announce that it will award financial support to selected young adults interested in attending the 12th Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) Baltic Conference on May 19-20, 2017. The Conference will feature foreign policy and world affairs experts, and will be held at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington DC.

EANC will accept applications from individuals aged 17 to 30 who have not previously attended a JBANC Conference.  To apply for support, please submit an essay stating why you are interested in attending the Conference, include a short biography, and e-mail it to erku@estosite.org.

The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2017.  For further information about the Conference, contact JBANC at 301-340-1954 or jbanc@jbanc.org. For questions about the EANC application, contact Linda Rink at 215-546-5863 or erku@estosite.org.


2017 - ERKÜ Vabariigi aastapäeva tervitus / Estonian Independence Day Greetings from EANC

Palju õnne Eestile!

Eesti Vabariik tähistab oma 99-ndat aastapäeva sel kuul.  Neid kes sel ajal elus olid on üpris vähe järele jäänud, kuid selle päeva tähtsus on nende järeltulijatele selge ja südame asi, olenemata nende elukoha riigist.  Nii siis meie, eestlased Ameerikas, tähistame seda päeva - kas aktusega, kiriku jumalateenistusega, piduliku koosviibimisega, eestikooli laste etteastumistega, kuid ka lihtsalt oma südames.  Meie palve ja lootus on, et Eestil läheks hästi, et meie ja meie järeltulijad saaksid vabalt ja rõõmsalt tulevikus Eesti sünnipäevi samuti tähistada.

Ettevalmistused Eesti suurjuubeliks – 100 – on käinud juba tükk aega.  Juba aprillis algavad selle juubeli pidustused ja tähistamised.  Need kestavad 2. veebruarini 2020, mil möödub sada aastat Tartu rahu sõlmimisest. Selle kolme aasta ajaraami langevad mitmete tähtsate sündmuste 100. a. sünnipäevad, kaasaarvatud Vabadussõja algus (28. novembril, 1918); Riigikogu asutamine (23. aprillil 1919); 100 aastat Võnnu lahingust (23. juunil, 1919); ja Eesti Vabariigi eestikeelse Tartu ülikooli avamine (1. detsembil 1919).  Nii palju juhtus selle suhteliselt lühikese aja jooksul et kindlustada Eesti Vabariigi asutamist ja püsimist.  Mõtleme nendele kangelastele ja rahvale kes selle läbi viisid tänuga.

Juulis 2019 toimub ka Laulu- ja tantsupidude 150. a. juubel. Paljud meist lähevad sel puhul Eestisse, ka sel suvel toimuvale noorte laulu- ja tantsupeole ''Mina jään.'' Rõõmustav on Ida- kui Läänekaldalt eesti koolide noorte osavõtt noorte laulupeost.  See on suur ettevõtmine laste vanematele ja noortele, kuid midagi paremat ei ole kui ``Eesti süst`` eestluse säilitamiseks välismaal.  Kiitust ja jõudu nendele!

Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides nimel tervitan kõiki Ameerika eestlasi, sõpru ja ühiskondi Eesti Vabariigi aastapäeva puhul.  Olgu teil kõigil sel puhul väike ``Eesti süst`` mis tuleb ühisest koosviibimisest ja sidemest Eestiga.  ERKÜ omalt poolt teeb kõik mis võimalik Eesti heaks siin Ameerikas.

Palju õnne, Eesti!


Marju Rink-Abel, ERKÜ esimees


Congratulations to Estonia! 

The Republic of Estonia celebrates its 99th independence anniversary this month. There are not too many individuals left who were alive at that time, but the significance of this day to their descendants is clear and heart-felt, regardless of their country of residence. So we  Estonian Americans celebrate this day – with a program, church service, a performance by Estonian school children, but also just in our hearts. Our prayer and hope is that Estonia will continue to thrive, so that we and our descendants will be able to freely and joyously celebrate its future birthdays.

Preparations for Estonia’s jubilee – 100 anniversary - have been going on for some time. Celebrations are starting already in April, and will last until February 2 2020, which will mark one hundred years of the Tartu Peace award. Within this three-year time frame fall several important events with 100-year birthdays, including the start of the War of Independence (November 28, 1918); The establishment of the Parliament (23 April 1919); 100 years since the Battle of Võnnu (June 23, 1919); and the opening of the Republic of Estonia’s Estonian-language Tartu University (December 1 1919). So much happened in a relatively short period of time to bring about the creation and continuation of the Estonian Republic. We should remember with gratitude those who made this possible.

In July 2019 the Song and Dance festivals will celebrate their 150th anniversary. Many of us will go to Estonia for this; also this summer to the Youth Song and Dance Festivals “I will stay” (“Mina jään“). It is very nice to see participation by East and West Coast Estonian schools in the youth festivals. This is a major undertaking for the parents and the children, but there is nothing better than an``Eesti süst” for preserving Estonian culture abroad. Kudos and more power to them!

On behalf of the Estonian American National Council, I send greetings to all Estonians, friends and Estonian societies on this occasion. Let all of you get a small ``Eesti süst`` from your shared companionship and your ties with Estonia. EANC for its part, will do everything in its power for Estonia here in America.

Congratulations, Estonia!

Marju Rink-Abel, EANC President


Published! "Estonians in America, 1945-1995: Exiles in a Land of Promise"

History of Estonians in America Now Published !

The Estonian American National Council is pleased to announce that it is taking orders for “Estonians in America, 1945-1995: Exiles in a Land of Promise,” the history of Estonians in the United States from the time of the World War II.  The hard-cover book has over 560 pages, and provides details and photos on the history and activities of Estonian refugees, and their descendants, who came to the U.S. after Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union. 

Editor Priit Vesilind has built on the manuscript originally prepared by Mr. Enn Kõiva, with contributions by many other individuals.  Mr. Vesilind, currently a freelance writer, is a former senior writer and photojournalist for National Geographic magazine.

“Estonians in America, 1945-1995: Exiles in a Land of Promise,” is the perfect gift for your friends and family. Also consider donating a copy to your local public library, as it is an important historical reference book.

The cost is $97.50 ($90.00 plus $7.50 for regular shipping and handling.   Please use the form below to reserve your copies.  You can also pay by credit card via PayPal at a slightly higher cost to cover PayPal fees:  $100.50 including shipping and handling.  Please include your mailing address and e-mail! 

Expedited shipping is available for an additional cost: $103.60 with check, $107.00 if paying by PayPal/credit card.

Contact:  Linda Rink, EANC Executive Director: 215-546-5863, erku@estosite.org.



I wish to order ________ copies of “Estonians in America, 1945-1995: Exiles in a Land of Promise” at a cost of $97.50 per book ($90.00 plus $7.50 for regular shipping & handling) or $103.60 for expedited shipping. 

Enclosed is a check for ____________ .

Name:  ____________________________________________   

Address:  _____________________________________________________________________


Email:  ________________________________________   Phone:  _______________________


Write checks to “EANC” and send to:

Linda Rink

1420 Locust St., Suite 31N

Philadelphia PA 19102.  


EANC supports two important new projects/ERKÜ toetab kahte tähtsat projekti 

An important part of EANC’s work includes providing grants and financial support to organizations and cultural projects across the U.S. that further Estonian American interests, and help maintain language and heritage.   The following two projects have been selected by the Estonian American National Council’s Board of Directors to receive a portion of the proceeds from this year’s November 5 Gala Evening, as well as support in 2017.  

*  Singing Revolution University  -- EANC’s grant will help launch a new streaming website containing the films “The Singing Revolution” and “To Breathe As One” by Jim and Maureen Tusty, plus interview segments and commentary, newsreels, original documents, and many additional video segments not in the films.  The site is intended for academics, Estophiles, film fans, music fans and others to delve into the Singing Revolution, Laulupidu and Estonia’s Soviet Occupation.

 *  East and West Coast Estonian Children’s Choirs’ song festival participation -- Choirs on both the East and West Coasts are preparing to attend next year’s Noorte Laulu- ja Tantsupidu in Tallinn, Estonia.  EANC’s grant will help defray the expenses of families, so that more of these hard-working children and their music directors can participate.

If you would like to support these projects, mail your donation check made out to “EANC” to Linda Rink, 1420 Locust St., Ste. 31N, Philadelphia, PA 19102.  You can also pay by credit card via PayPal at www.estosite.org.


Üks suur osa ERKÜ tööst on võimaldada  toetust ja rahalist abi Am. Ühendriikides olevatele organisatsioonidele ja kultuurilistele projektidele, mis kaitsevad Eesti-Ameerika hüve, sellega toetades ka eesti keele ja eesti traditsioonide säilitamist.  Rahvuskomitee juhatus on valinud kaks sellist projekti, kellele osutada osa nov. 5 Gala õhtusest sissetulekust ja toetada 2017. aastal.

  • Singing Revolution University -  ERKÜ annetus võimaldab uue website’I loomist, kus esinevad Jim ja Maureen Tusty filmid, “The Singing Revolution” ja “To Breathe As One”, nendele järgneb palju informatsiooni, mida saaks kasutada akadeemilises töös, või mis huvitaks “Estophiile” , samuti muusika ja filmi fan’e.  Sealt võib lugeda originaalseid intervjuusid, originaalseid dokumente, väljavõtteid video saadetistest, jm.  Üldiselt annab see ka informatsiooni “Singing Revolutioniga” ühenduses olevast vene okupatsioonist ja eesti traditsioonilistest laulupidudest.  
  • Lääne ja Idaranniku eestlaste laste kooride toetus lastele, et laulupeost osa võtta.  - Laste laulukoorid mõlemil rannikul teevad ettevalmistusi, et osa võtta tuleval suvel Tallinnas toimuvast noorte laulu- ja tantsupeost.  ERKÜ annetus on suureks abiks nendele laste peredele ja võimaldaks lastel oma raske töö tagajärgi laululaval nautida! Samuti võimaldab see toetus ka meie laste suurearvulisemat  osavõttu.   

Kui te sooviksite toetada neid eelnimetatud projekte, saatke check Linda Rink, 1420 Locust St. Ste. 31N, Philadelphia, PA 19102.  Check kirjutada “EANC” nimele.  On ka võimalik krediit kaardiga maksta, via PayPal at www.estosite.org  


EANC Congratulates President-Elect Trump

Nov. 17, 2016 Press Release

The Estonian American National Council offers congratulations to Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence on their election to the nation’s highest offices.  We look forward to working with them and their administration to ensure sound policy development on issues concerning U.S.-Estonian relations.

Together with our partners in the Joint Baltic American National Committee and the Central and East European Coalition, we will continue to foster strong ties in Congress in support of our collective regional interests.  We intend to invite newly elected members to join the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus and the House Baltic Caucus, and to keep Congress informed on the issues that impact the Baltic States.  At the same time, we invite our Estonian-American constituency to also contact their Senators and Representatives to voice their concerns for Estonian security and policy for the region.

Strong U.S. leadership in NATO remains the foundation of European – and therefore Estonian – security and stability.  We are ardent supporters of the $3.4 billion European Reassurance Initiative allocation in the current National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and call on Congress to pass it without delay.  This bilateral funding allows European allies to maximize their interoperability with NATO to ensure all members are well-prepared for deterrence and allied operations.  Though Estonia has exceeded the 2% of GDP benchmark for defense spending and is making smart decisions under their Article 3 responsibilities to develop their own forces, it relies on cooperation and support from larger members to bolster its ability to defend its borders and maintain the integrity of the alliance as a whole.  The multinational presence deploying there next year is a welcome implementation of the outcomes of the Wales and Warsaw summits.

While there is still much uncertainty regarding Mr. Trump’s national security policy and the team that will implement it, the EANC will make it a top priority to educate on and advocate for the importance of maintaining strong transatlantic relationships.  Estonia’s small size in no way diminishes its status as a sovereign nation.  Under Article 2, all NATO member nations signed on to “…contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being.”  We call on Mr. Trump to uphold and promote these values and to appoint a policy team that will do the same.


EANC supports Estonian animation tour to help Estonian American children showcase their roots.

In a project funded by a grant from the Estonian Ministry of Culture and the Estonian American National Council with the aim of bringing Estonian-American children's connections to their families' homeland to life, the Animation Generation team held its first three workshops in Lakewood, N. J. and New York City on May 6 and 7, creating stop-motion animations with a total of 33 Estonian-American children.

The Estonian community in Lakewood centers around a trio consisting of the Estonian House, the church belonging to the Lakewood Holy Ghost (Pühavaimu) congregation, a member of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Estonian Archives in the U.S. (EAU). The Estonian community there is one of the most organized in the US, with weekly events and church services. Pastor Thomas Vaga, who came to the United States in 1949, met with the Animation Generation team and spoke of the changing needs of the community.

Vaga explained that the Estonian community in Lakewood began as a refugee community, and there comes a time, as in every such community, when a decision must be made regarding whether to continue services only in Estonian, even as such services are needed less and less, or move into two languages.

The church now offers services in English once a month, even as it remains a bastion of Estonian identity in the coastal state. The church building itself was designed by an Esto-nian architect and built from stone from an Estonian quarry. According to church record, the massive front altar painting “…depicts the fate of the Estonian people, wherein Jesus Christ has come to their aid and provided strength to those deported to Siberia, freedom fighters suffering in prison camps, refugees escaping through stormy seas, and those who escaped to a new country and freedom.”

The Estonian archive, located directly next door to the church, houses not only written records, but also things such as artwork, textiles, ethnographic items, medals, and memorial stamps. Displayed items include walls of framed medals from Estonian high schools, handcrafted folk costume pieces, and even 1970s-era Barbie dolls painstakingly dressed in ethnic styles from all over Estonia. The pastor’s wife, Airi, explained that these pieces were made from memory during a time when refugees believed that Estonia might truly someday be no more.

The main-floor bar at the Lakewood Estonian House, located a few miles away, doesn’t serve Saku, but there is enough activity to go around anyway. There are meetings and classes for Estonian Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, senior clubs, and special occasion events, like the Mother’s Day meal held on Sunday.

Saturday's animation workshop, much anticipated by local Estonian children, took place in the building’s basement room, where the local Lithuanian School rents space alongside the twice-monthly Estonian School classes. The kids dove right in, creating two stop-motion animation works and a fun pixelation wherein all of the children appeared to climb into a box which was mailed to Estonia by Helica DeShaw, the newly elected President of the Lakewood Estonian Association (LEÜ).

Animation Generation hosted its first US workshop at the Lakewood Estonian House in Lakewood, N.J. on Saturday, May 7, 2016. (Kreeta Käeri)

Animation Generation Takes Manhattan

The reception was equally warm at the New York Estonian House on Sunday, where due to demand, two workshops were held for the children.

“I think workshops like this are an excellent idea, and we were really excited to see it coming,” said Paul Kuldkepp, a parent of one of the participants of the animation workshop in New York. “My son Oskar has an iPad and has done some stop-motion animations at home. He had so much fun in the first session that he asked to participate again in the second one. There are things like the Estonian opera that come here for adults, but workshops for the kids that support a direct cultural link are much more rare. This allows kids to do stuff that’s hands-on. After this, you can introduce things like [award-winning Estonian cartoonist] Priit Pärn, and you’re not trying to interest kids in something they have no experience with.”

In addition to screening the animations and pixelations made by the children themselves, the Animation Generation team also screened several short films, including Ülo Pikkov’s “ADA + OTTO,” which the children proclaimed was “Sooooo cute!”

The three-person team’s next stop will be at the Chicago Estonian House in Riverwoods, Ill.

- Erin Crouch


Ülemaailmse Eesti Kesknõukogu aastakoosolek toimub Washington DC lähedal

Ülemaailmne Eesti Kesknõukogu (ÜEKN) peab oma aastakoosolekut reedel ja laupäeval, 22. ja 23. aprillil, Embassy Suites by Hilton Crystal City National Airport hotellis.  Koosolek on avatud publikule.  Registreerimine algab kell 9.00 reedel ja koosoleku rakendamine on kell 9.30, millele järgneb tervitus Eesti Suursaadikult Eerik Marmeilt.

Kavas on ülevaade liikmesmaade tegevusest, arutelu ESTO ja Eesti 100 plaanidest, ÜEKNi kodukorra uuendamine, ÜEKNi majandus- ning tegevuskavad, ning juhatuse valimised.  Laupäeva õhtul toimub ühine õhtusöök kuhu tuleb ette registreerida.  

ÜEKNi liikmesmaad on Austraalia, Inglismaa, Kanada, Läti, Leedu, Rootsi, Saksamaa, Tsehhi, Ukraina, USA, Venemaa ja Soome.

Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides on kohapealne koosoleku korraldaja. Küsimustega pöörduda Marju Rink-Abelile 301-587-8353 või marju.rink_abel@verizon.net.  Hotelli aadress on 1402 South Eads St., Arlington, VA 22202.

EANC 2016 awards program - nominations due May 1 / ERKÜ 2016 auhinnad 

The Estonian American National Council (EANC) announces solicitation of nominees for the 2016 EANC awards program to recognize exceptional individuals or organizations in America who should be noted for their contributions to Estonia or to the Estonian-American community, or to the broader American community in a way that has some connection to Estonia or the Estonian people. EANC invites you to submit your nominations for these awards, which this year will be given out at a public ceremony during the dinner following EANC’s annual meeting on November 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. 

The awards can recognize many different kinds of contributions.  Estonian-American individuals can be recognized for outstanding achievements, or for distinguished service related to Estonia or Estonian-American activities, including for outstanding contributions to the EANC.   Organizations can be recognized for their outstanding contributions to Estonia or to the Estonian-American community. This year, eligibility has been expanded to include Americans not of Estonian descent who may have made contributions to Estonia or the Estonian American community. As these awards are meant to recognize truly outstanding contributions, EANC will not necessarily give awards in all the above categories.  Selections of recipients will be made by the EANC board.

Written nominations should include the name of the nominee, the specific type of contribution that he or she has made, and a brief (no more than one page) rationale for the nomination.  (If the selection committee requires more documentation, they will request it.) Nominations must be accompanied by contact information for the nominator.  Nominations may be submitted via e-mail (preferred) to Linda Rink, EANC Executive Director, at erku@estosite.org, or by regular mail to Linda Rink, 1420 Locust Street, Suite 31N, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

To be considered, nominations must be received by May 1, 2016.  
ERKÜ 2016 auhinnad 
Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides (ERKÜ) teatab, et avatud on nominentide esitamine 2016 aasta ERKÜ auhindadele, tunnustamaks erakordseid üksikisikuid või organisatsioone Ameerikas, kes on edendanud Eesti Vabariigi või Eesti Ameerika kogukonda, või Ameerika ühiskonda laiemalt, millel on side Eesti või eestlastega. 
ERKÜ kutsub kõiki üles esitama kandidaate auhindadele, mis sel aastal antakse välja ERKÜ iga-aastase konverentsi järgsel gaalal 5.novembril 2016 San Franciscos, Californias.

Need auhinnad tunnustavad mitmeid panuseid. Eesti ameeriklasi võib tunnustada Eestiga seotud saavutustes või auväärt teenistuses, samuti Eesti Ameerika tegevuses, sealhulgas erilises panuses ERKÜ tegevusesse.
Organisatsioone võib tunnustada nende erilises panuses Eesti heaks või Eesti Ameerika ühiskonna heaks. Sel aastal on kategooria laiendatud ka hõlmamaks mitte Eesti päritolu ameeriklastele, kes on andnud oma panuse Eesti või Ameerika Eesti ühiskonna heaks. Kuna need autasud on mõeldud tõeliselt erakorraliste saavutuste tunnustamiseks, ei pruugi ERKÜ anda välja autasu igas kategoorias, kui seda väärivat kandidaati ei leita. Lõpliku valiku teeb ERKÜ juhtkond.

Kandidaatide kirjalikul esitamisel tuleb märkida kandidaadi nimi, millise spetsiifilise panuse on nad andnud ning lühike kirjeldus (mitte pikem kui üks lehekülg), miks neid esitatakse. Samuti esitaja kontaktinfo juhuks, kui ERKÜ auhindade komitee vajab täiendavat informatsiooni.

Kandidatuurid palun saata meili teel ERKÜ tegevdirektor Linda Rink´ile: erku@estosite.org.
Või posti teel aadressil:
Linda Rink
1420 Locust Street, Suite 31N
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Kandidaatide esitamise tähtaeg on 1.mai 2016. 



EANC Board Member Arne Kalm to Receive BAFL Freedom Award

The Estonian American National Council is pleased to announce that Arne Kalm will be honored by the Baltic American Freedom League (BAFL) in recognition of his dedication to the cause of Baltic freedom and security. Kalm will be one of three award recipients honored at BAFL’s 34th Awards Banquet on April 2, 2016 at the Latvian Community Center in Los Angeles, California. The two other honorees are Angele Nelsas and Janis Kukainis.

Arne Kalm is an Estonian-born American businessman with a long record of participation in civic and community activities.  Now retired, he is an elected member of the Estonian American National Council, where he serves on the Board of Directors. As an active member of the Estonian community in Los Angeles, Kalm’s career over the years has emphasized participation in local, state and national political activities as a means of bringing the cause of the Baltic peoples in front of the people of the United States and their elected representatives.  Kalm has held numerous leadership positions in the Estonian League of the West Coast, which organizes the biennial West Coast Estonian Days in various Pacific Coast cities, including vice president in 1961-63 and president in 1997-99.

He is also the author of the book, “Baltic Musketeers in the U.S. Congress,” a history of the first resolutions in the U.S. Congress seeking freedom for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  Kalm has first-hand perspective on this subject, since he served from 1961 through 1969 as the Estonian vice president of Americans for Congressional Action to Free the Baltic States, a Los Angeles based organization formed by Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians to support the introduction and passage of Baltic freedom resolutions.

Born in Tallinn, Kalm was brought to the United States in 1945, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area.  He graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Engineering (cum laude) and an M.S. degree in Civil Engineering.  Later, he earned an M.B.A. with high distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Kalm and his wife, Celia, are long-time residents of Arcadia, California.  

Information regarding the April 2 banquet can be obtained from Aavo Reinfeldt (949) 481-1915.
ERKÜ juhatuse liige Arne Kalm saab BAFL’i Vabaduse auhinna
Eesti Rahvuskomiteel Ühendriikides (ERKÜ) on hea meel teatada et Balti Ameerika Vabaduse Liit (Baltic American Freedom League, ehk BAFL) austab Arne Kalmi Vabaduse auhinnaga.  BAFL’i 34. Auhindade Bankett toimub 2. aprillil, 2016, Los Angelesi Läti Seltsi Majas.   Auhinnaga tunnustatakse tema silmapaistvat pühendust Balti riikide vabadusele ja julgeolekule.

Arne Kalm on Eestis sündinud Ameerika ärimees kellel on olnud pikajaline osavõtt  kodakondlikudes ja ühiskondlikes tegevustes.  Nüüd pensionil, ta on ERKÜ Esinduskogu ja juhatuse liige.  Olles aktiivne Los Angelesi eesti ühiskonnas, tema tegevuse pearõhk aastate jooksul on olnud osavõtt kohalikes, osariiklikes, ja föderaalsetes poliitilistes üritustes, et  Ameerika rahva ja Kongressis esindajate tähelepanu juhtida Balti rahvaste sihtidele.  Kalm on olnud mitmetes juhtivates positsioonides Eesti Organisatsioonide Liidus Läänerannikul (EOLL), organisatsioon mis korraldab iga teise aasta tagant Lääneranniku Eesti Päevad (LEP) erinevates lääneranniku asupaikades Ameerikas ja Kanadas.  Kalm oli EOLL’i asepresident a. 1961-63 ja president a. 1997-99. 

Arne Kalm on ka „Balti Musketärid USA Kongressis“ autor, ajalugu esimestest USA Kongressi resolutsioonidest mis taotlesid vabadust Eestile, Lätile, ja Leedule.  Kalmil on isiklik perspektiiv sellest teemast, kuna a. 1961-1969 ta oli Eesti asepresident organisatsioonis Ameeriklased Kongressi Aktsiooni Poolt et Vabastada Balti Riike (Americans for Congressional Action to Free the Baltic States). See Los Angelesis asuv organisatsioon oli moodustatud leedulaste, lätlaste, ja eestlaste poolt et toetada Balti vabaduse resolutsioonide tutvustamist ja läbi viimist Kongressis.

Sündinud Tallinnas, Kalm oli noor poiss kui ta tuli 1945 a. Ameerika Ühendriikidess, kus ta kasvas ülesse San Francisco ümbruses.  Ta lõpetas Kalifornia Tehnoloogia Instituudi (California Institute of Technology) cum laude B.S. kraadiga inseneri alal ja saavutas magistri kraadi ehitusinsenerina.  Hiljem ta lõpetas Harvard’i Ülikooli Graduate School of Business Administration magistri kraadiga ärijuhtimises kõrge kiitusega.  Kalm ja tema abikaasa Celia on kauaaegsed Arcadia, Kalifornia elanikud.

Informatsioon 2. aprilli banketti kohta võib saada Aavo Reinfeldt’ilt (949) 481-1915.



January 1, 2016 --- The Estonian American National Council, Inc., (EANC) has named Karin Shuey as its Washington DC Director, a newly-established position.  K. Shuey will be responsible for EANC’s Washington DC activities and programs, representing EANC with Congress and the Administration, and at DC-area meetings and functions.  She will also work closely with organizations such as the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) and the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC).  Ms. Shuey will report to the EANC Board of Directors.

Shuey is retired from a 22-year active duty career in the U.S. Navy, where she had significant experience with the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, and with the Estonian Ministry of Defense as the U.S. Embassy’s Defense Attaché in Tallinn.  Shuey holds a B.A. degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Washington, Seattle, and an M.A. in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.  

After her retirement from active duty, Ms. Shuey obtained her second Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology; most recently she has conducted therapy for active duty military and veterans dealing with service-related challenges.  

With the addition of this position focusing on EANC’s political objectives, the organization will be able to intensify its work to counteract Russia’s aggressive actions, misinformation, and anti-Estonian propaganda.  Funding for the position comes from individual donations, and EANC thanks its contributors for their generous support.  


1. jaanuar, 2016 – Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides (ERKÜ) on nimetanud Karin Shuey ERKÜ hiljuti asutatud positsioonile, Washingtoni büroo juhatajaks.  K. Shuey on vastutav ERKÜ Washingtoni tegevuse ja programmide eest, esindades ERKÜ-t Kongressis ja valitsuses, ning kohalikkudel koosolekutel ja üritustel. Ta hakkab arendama tihedamat koostööd organisatsioonidega nagu Ühendatud Balti Ameerika Komitee (JBANC) ja Kesk- ja Ida Euroopa Koalitsioon (CEEC).  K. Shuey vastutab ERKÜ juhatusele.

K. Shuey läks erru peale 22-aastast karjääri Ameerika mereväes, saades olulisi kogemusi Ameerika European Command peastaabis Stuttgartis, Saksamaal, ja Ameerika saatkonnas Tallinnas kaitse atašeena.  Tal on bakalaureus Vene ja Ida Euroopa uurimuste alal Washingon (Seattle) ülikoolist ja magistrikraad riikliku julgeoleku alal Naval Postgraduate koolist Montereys, CA.

Peale erru minekut, K. Shuey omandas teise magistrikraadi psühholoogia alal.  Ta viimati nõustas teenivaid sõjaväelasi ning veteraane teenimisajaga seotud probleemide lahendamisega.

Selle uue töökohaga on ERKÜ-l võimalik arendada ja paremini läbi viia ERKÜ poliitikat Washingtonis, võideldes Venemaa agressiooni, vale informatsiooni, ning Eesti-vastase propaganda vastu.  Töökoht on majandatud üksikisikute annetustest.  ERKÜ tänab toetajaid lahkete annetuste eest.



EANC Board Member Mirjam Krull honored

Eesti Välisministeerium tunnustas Kodanikupäeva puhul aukirjaga rahvadiplomaate, kes on andnud suure panuse Eesti tutvustamisel maailmas. Mirjam Krull sai tunnustuse kultuurisidemete hoidmise ja Washingtoni Eesti Seltsi juhtimise eest. Mirjam on ERKÜ juhatuses. Palju õnne, Mirjam! Washingtoni Eesti Kooli tunnustati eestluse hoidmise ja edendamise eest USAs.  /
The Estonian Foreign Ministry has recognized EANC Board member Mirjam Krull for her work in supporting Estonian culture in the U.S., particularly with the Washington DC Estonian Society.  Congratulations, Mirjam! The Washington Estonian School also received recognition for furthering Estonian heritage and culture in the U.S.

EANC co-hosts Congress at LEP-Whistler

By Mai-Liis Bartling

The Estonian American National Council (EANC) and Estonian Central Council in Canada (EKN) co-hosted the August 5th Congress.   It was particularly ambitious in its scope, framed by such questions as: What is Estonia to me, to us, to the world? How do Estonians in North America cooperate with those in Estonia to advance a common and unified cultural sphere?  What new opportunities, technology, and resources are available?  Dr. Maarja Lõhmus of the University of Tartu Institute of Social Studies and Media Studies moderated the session and provided a foundation for the discussion, suggesting that we need a new integration model, and perhaps could find inspiration from the 19th century transformation that occurred when the “maa rahvas” (people of the land) became “Estonians” – an identified people.  EANC and EKN were asked to address the essential role and contributions of exiled Estonians – both political and cultural -- during the period between 1940 and 1990, and to express their priorities for preserving this heritage and taking it forward to build a global Estonian culture.  EANC’s  response to these themes, presented by Mai-Liis Bartling, are:

8 küsimust ERKÜle 
1. millised on pagulaseesti kujunemise etapid/perioodid ja kuidas jõudis eestlaskond oma ülemaailmste organisatsioonideni ja Eesti ühise kultuuriväljani paguluses?   (What were the stages or periods of formation for exiled Estonians and how did the Estonian community achieve its international organizations and unified culture in exile?)
Answer:  This is a complicated question that needs a layered answer, as well as more formal study of the history of Estonians in the U.S.    If we only look to the post-war period, we will miss the critical antecedents to the development of Estonian culture and organization here. We know that Estonians have been in the U.S. since early colonial times, as the book “Estonians in America 1627-1975,” published 40 years ago, lays out.  The foundations of organized Estonian-American activity might be set at the turn of the 20th century, with individuals like Rev. Hans Rebane who – before his death in 1911 -- was organizing Estonian congregations and putting out Estonian language publications.  This critical pre-DP period had its own interesting history.  By 1940, New York was already an activity hub, upon which the later explosive growth in organizations (including ERKU) was built. 
Post war Estonian refugees began to organize themselves as soon as they fled into exile, by 1944/45. Already in Sweden and Germany there was religious life, Estonian schools, Seltsid, choirs, dance groups, scouting, etc. It was a way of continuing life with purpose and meaning when the future was so uncertain.  This time spent in refugee camps was very important, and the strong bonds formed between DP camp residents have persisted to this day.  By 1948/49, it became evident there would be no quick return to a free Estonia, and as Estonian immigrants came to the US and Canada they looked to their Estonian organizations for a sense of belonging and positive social engagement for their families.  They also wanted to do their part to preserve the Estonian language and culture and – not to be overlooked – to organize to effect political outcomes.   The 1950’s through 70’s were years of great development. 

2. pikal perioodil Eesti riigikaotuse perioodil 1940 - 1990ndate alguseni esindas eesti pagulaskond Eesti riiki rahvusvahelistes organisatsioonides (ÜRO, UNESCO jt ), milline on olnud põhiline töö ja panus selles vallas Eesti riigikaotuse perioodil rahvusvaheliselt?   (During the long period of the loss of the Estonian state (1940 until beginning of 1990) Estonians in exile represented the Estonian nation in international organizations (e.g...….) -- what was the essential work and contribution in this field during this period, internationally?) 
Answer:  In the pre-DP period, there were remaining Consuls, such as Kuusik, Kaiv and Johnson, who provided service.   (There were also fascinating conflicts within the Estonian-American community between those loyal to the Estonian government, and those more red-leaning who tried to take over representation of Estonia.) New York -- the hub of Estonian activity -- was also the location of the Estonian legation(diplomatic mission), which had an unbroken period of service throughout these years.  The political torch was carried by these official diplomatic representatives of Estonia until there was a critical mass of refugees to activate organizations.
Already in the summer of 1940, Estonian diplomats in America and leaders in the Estonian-American community formed the U’lemaailne Eesti U’hing (World Association of Estonians), to work for Estonian interests. Both the legation and non-governmental organizations played an important role in promoting the non-recognition policy of the U.S. vis-à-vis the Soviet Occupation (the Welles Declaration).  It is believed that this declaration helped avoid forced repatriation of DP’s to occupied countries.  
The non-governmental organizations evolved along two paths 1) formal entities representing local, regional, or national groups of Estonians (Seltsid, EOLL, ERKU, Ulemaailmne Eesti Kesknougogu (UEKN), eventually the Pan-Baltic JBANC), and 2) ad hoc volunteer organizations (BATUN, BAFL, ACA).    They jousted to an extent, but all had a role with pushing the Baltic cause in Congress and the UN.  Thanks to them, the Baltics remained a topic of discussion, even when no specific, positive action could be taken.  (Arne Kalm’s new book covers these topics well.) UEKN coordinated political activity and facilitated communication among the central organizations of the countries where Estonian DP’s went to live.  Their activity was significant enough to cause the KGB and Soviety authorities anxiety and countermeasures.

3.  Tänu kellele on Eestlaskond suutnud organiseeruda ja luua poliitilise-kultuurilise struktuuri Eesti riigikaotuse/ENSV perioodil? Kellele tuleb teha kummardused ja kelle mälestuse juurde ei tohi rohtuda teerajad? ( Thanks to whom did Estonians manage to organize themselves and create a political-cultural structure during the period when the nation was lost?  Whom should we recognize and whose memory should not be buried in overgrown paths?)  
Answer:  To answer who deserves credit for the organizational work -- there is an enormous list of individuals from many different periods.  What is really being asked for is a more complete history of a long period of Estonian-American society, spanning from the 1890’s through the 1990’s.  This is what EANC is supporting with the Estonians in America project, which will produce a book covering the period 1945-1995.   There is a need to also do histories of ERKU, UEKN, and other organizations to better understand their many facets.   If we are enumerating heroes, we can’t forget those – who in addition to the lead organizers – helped with all the preparations, cooked food, taught in Estonian schools, established summer camps and childrens’ activities, raised funds to buy property, and made “being Estonian” part of everyday life.

4.  mida peate Eesti ühiskonna ja kultuuri elujõu ja kestmise põhialusteks (Eestlaste Elujõud - vt Oskar Loorits 1951) ?  (What do you hold as the basis for Estonian community and culture vitality and survival?
Answer:  What kept the Estonian community together over such a long period?  This is also complicated.  In the pre-war period up to 1940, there was free movement of people between the US and Estonia.  Estonian organizations helped people “connect” as an Estonian community.  In the post-war period, the focus became working for the restoration of independence, and at the same time “preserving” culture that was under threat in the homeland.  Post 1991, these post-war purposes have come to wane and emphasis has been on offering cultural community, with the exception of the important work of reminding the world and motivating actions that support security in the region.   
Just why Estonians abroad, members of such a tiny community, continue to find value in their heritage -- why Estonia should continue to touch our hearts - is a deeper question.

5. Kuidas koguda, säilitada ning tutvustada pagulaseestlaste elulugusid ja kultuurisaavutusi? (How should we collect, preserve, and introduce the exiled Estonian life stories and cultural accomplishments?)
Answer:   It is so important to collect the life stories.  There can be more efforts like “Kogu Me Lugu.”   Other ideas: Appeal for archival materials before they are lost forever.  Create films and other media.  Create a special center in Tartu perhaps to collect and coordinate the collection of diaspora materials, and make them available digitally.   Define new study topics that encourage use of the collected materials.  Partner with others who have ideas for interesting projects.
There are many Archives in many of the countries where Estonians settled, and the archival work has been done mainly with volunteers.  It is time to devote professional attention to this area.  While the Estonian government has provided some help here, permanent attention and funding is needed.  It can’t be expected that the 3rd and 4th generations of the refugees, or the influx of Estonians here, will provide the financial support.

6. mida saavad kodueesti ja maailmaEesti koos teha - milliseid uusi koostöövorme peaksime arendama?  (What can the homeland and globalEstonia together do -- what new collaborative forms should we develop?)  
Answer:   We need to work together on collecting, coordinating, centralizing Estonian diaspora materials and information.  We also need to work together on collecting, organizing Estonian heritage materials and support their teaching to new generations outside Estonia.   These kinds of projects can be done in ways that create new collaborations, new connections between people.   How about getting students from Estonia together with members of the diaspora, specifically to collect and record oral histories, as a practical part of their curriculum? Skype could be used if travel is not possible.

7. ajal, kui virtuaalne ruum hakkab hõlmama ja kohati lausa asendama reaalset ruumi, tekib olukord, kus 'lokaalne' võib olla ka Eesti kultuur - Eesti jõuab kõikjale üle maailma, Eesti jõuab igasse eesti kodusse.  Kuidas seda uut maailmastruktuuri -- virtuaalse ruumi peatset domineerimist -- kultuuriliselt ja hariduslikult paremini ära kasutada globaalse eestlaskonna kultuurivälja loomisel ja hoidmisel?   (In this time when we start to embrace virtual space, in some places standing in for real space …. Estonian culture can reach worldwide, reach every Estonian home.  How can we use this new global structure – the imminent domination of virtual space  -- to create and keep global Estonian culture?) 
Answer:  Build on existing websites and Facebook pages, but also look to new models, for example the wealth of online learning systems and tools.   All of us involved with Estonian organizations here are challenged to use new media to continue to engage the next generation. This is something that the EANC, too, is putting focus on going forward.   Can Estonia can contribute its high tech and e-government expertise to this endeavor?
But even with the emphasis on virtual space, it will always be important to connect people to real life experiences with the Estonian homeland and people.

8. Loome ülemaailmse Eesti kultuuri-teaduse-hariduse portaali ESTICA, kus säilitame ja saame kasutada Eesti kultuuri ülemaailmselt. ESTICA eesmärk on, et Eesti kultuur muutuks ülemaailmselt kommunikatiivseks ja eesmärk saada Eesti tundmine, eesti keele õpetus kaasaegsele ülemaailmsele järjele, mis oleks sisuliseks edulooks maailma teistele kultuuridele. Kuidas peaksime selle tegema?  (We're creating a worldwide Estonian cultural-knowledge-education portal ESTICA, to preserve and where we can use Estonian culture around the world. The objective is for Estonian culture to become communicable worldwide.  The objective to get to know Estonia, study the language using contemporary worldwide standards, which would be a success story to the world's other cultures.   How do we do this?) 
Answer:   A short answer here—make this new portal interesting and fun, and not too academic.  Have an English version, too, to reach the largest number of people and connect them with their Estonian heritage.  

Calling all Estonian-American historians!


The Estonian American National Council (EANC) needs your help to complete its documentary book, “Estonian Americans: Exiles in a Land of Promise.”  Priit Vesilind, the retired senior writer and editor at National Geographic magazine, is the current editor of the book...

Scheduled for publication in late 2016, “Estonian Americans: Exiles in a Land of Promise” will cover the fifty years between 1945 until 1995. Part documentary, part reference and part narrative, the 500-plus pages will tell the story of the Estonian-Americans’ “Greatest Generation”, those who came to the United States after World War II via displaced persons camps. Traveling with limited physical belongings, but carrying a passion to right the injustice of the Soviet occupation of Estonia, they settled in enclaves around the country.

Vesilind has been compiling manuscripts collected by the previous editors, Enn Koiva and Marju Rink-Abel, which were written by a host of regional correspondents from throughout the Estonian-American community since 1995. He’s now searching for photographs and illustrations to round out the coverage. According to Vesilind, he still needs old photograph material from these geographical areas and topics: Boston, MA; Washington, DC; Buffalo, NY; Fresno, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Cincinnati, OH; Florida; Indianapolis, IN; church life; charities; fraternities and sororities; and women’s organisations. You can reach him at priitvesilind@aol.com.



The Estonian American National Council held its annual meeting on October 3, 2015, at the Sheraton BWI Airport.  

Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides aastakoosolek toimus Sheraton BWI Airport hotellis 3. oktoobril.  

EANC members and guests at 2015 annual meeting. Front row: Eric Suuberg (Vice President), Marki Tihhonova-Kreek (Deputy Chief of Mission, Estonian Embassy in DC), Marju Rink-Abel (President), Maia Linask (Secretary), Tiina Urv (Treasurer), Linda Rink (Executive Director). Photo: Ülle Ederma



EANC Special Promotion: FREE Vaba Eesti Sõna Subscription!/ ERKÜ erakordne pakkumine: Tasuta Vaba Eesti Sõna tellimine! 

Now you can support both EANC and Vaba Eesti Sõna!  The Estonian American National Council announces a special promotion:  every person who donates $500 or more to EANC will receive a free subscription to Vaba Eesti Sõna, the only Estonian-language newspaper published in the U.S.!   You can choose either a free ½ year printed newspaper subscription or a full-year digital subscription.  Are you already a VES subscriber?  You can gift the free subscription to someone else!

The Estonian American National Council’s special $200,000 2015 fundraising campaign is still going strong.  Remember, your donations help support a free Estonia and preserve your Estonian heritage for future generations, so please give generously!

Contact: Linda Rink, erku@estosite.org, 215-546-5863
Please write checks to “EANC” and send to: EANC, c/o Linda Rink, 1420 Locust St., Suite 31N, Philadelphia PA 19102.  Include this form with your donation check.

Nüüd teie saata toetada mõlemaid ERKÜ-t ja Vaba Eesti Sõna!  Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides kuulutab välja erilise pakkumise: iga inimene kes annetab ERKÜ-le $500 või enam saab tasuta tellimise Vaba Eesti Sõnale, ainsale eestikeelse ajalehele mis on USA-s välja antud!  Teie võite valida kas trükitud ajalehe ½ -aastase tellimise või digitaalse versiooni aastase tellimise.  Kas juba tellite VES-i?  Võite tasuta tellimise kellegile teisele edasi kinkida!

Eesti Rahvuskomitee 2015 a. erakordne $200,000 korjanduse aktsioon on tugevalt edasi liikumas.  Tuletame meelde, et teie annetused aitavad toetada vaba Eesti riiki ja alal hoida teie eesti pärandit järgmistele generatsioonidele.  Palun annetage lahkelt!
Kontakt: Linda Rink, erku@estosite.org, 215-546-5863

Tsekid kirjutada “EANC” nimele ja saata: EANC, c/o Linda Rink, 1420 Locust St., Suite 31N, Philadelphia PA 19102.  Saatke vorm koos tsekiga.

EANC enables free-to-the-public Baltic Diaspora Exhibit in Philadelphia this summer

From June 22 through August 30, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Central Branch, will open an unprecedented exhibition of the Baltic diaspora, drawing on the memories, documents, photographs, and memorabilia of families and individuals who lived through the WWII experience.
Where: Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street. Second Floor West Gallery, see www.freelibrary.org for directions and parking
When:  June 22 through August 30, 2015, hours: M-Th 9am – 9pm; F 9am – 6pm; Sat 9am – 5pm; Sun 1pm – 5pm
Exhibition opening reception: free and open to the public, Tuesday, June 23, 5:30pm – 7pm; RSVP required, to request invitation contact: office@kristabard.com.
For more information: 773-582-6500 or info@balzekasmuseum.org Karile Vaitkute, Rita Janz,
215-735-7110 or office@kristabard.com Krista Bard

The creation of this exhibition reflects the collaborative effort of numerous institutions including: the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, the Latvian Folk Art Museum, the Chicago Estonian House, and the Lithuanian Emigration Institute.  
This project is partially supported by grants from the Kazickas Family Foundation, Lithuanian Council for Culture, Lithuanian Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, Women’s Guild of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, the Latvian Foundation, Inc., Cultural Foundation of the World Federation of Free Latvians, the Philadelphia Society of Free Letts, the Estonian American National Council and the Philadelphia Estonian Society, the Lithuanian American Association of Philadelphia, the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania and private donations.