Monday, 29 August 2016

Profile of a President: Toomas Hendrik Ilves

With the new presidential election currently underway in Estonia, it will soon be time to say goodbye to our current president Toomas Hendrik Ilves.  During his two five-year terms in office, President Ilves has raised Estonia's profile in the world making the country an attractive place for business and investment. Estonia has achieved renown for its tech-savvy innovation and is now a world leader in cyber security and e-governance. 
President Ilves will be remembered for many things. Firstly, he shares a history with many Estonian families who fled the country during the Soviet occupation. His Estonian parents first sought refuge in Sweden where he was born in 1953 and from where they emigrated to the United States a few years later. Ilves grew up bilingual speaking both Estonian and English as first languages and later learned German and Spanish. He was educated at Columbia University where he graduated with a psychology degree in 1976 and worked as a teacher and journalist for Radio Free Europe before catching the attention of high-profile Estonian politicians. Former president Lennart Meri saw his potential and invited him to live in Estonia to become more active in politics. He made a good judgement call.   

Toomas Hendrik Ilves has made a significant contribution to the development of Estonia and has won the respect of leaders the world over. As the fourth president of Estonia, Ilves will be remembered as the man who navigated Estonia through the global financial crisis, his strong presence on social media, his straight-forward talking and colourful collection of bow ties - a tradition he continues in honour of his father.

Today's election in Estonia failed to produce the next president but in the coming days, the victor will be announced. That person, whoever he or she may be, has big shoes to fill and carries the responsibility of leading Estonia through the next period of economic growth and prosperity.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Estonian school year to include five breaks beginning autumn 2017 I ERR News

The Minister of Education and Research has signed a regulation which will add an additional school break to the spring schedule, beginning in the 2017/2018 school year. This will allow for periods of study to be broken up into more more manageable, health-promoting and learning-friendly semesters.

"Spring terms are currently ten to fifteen days longer than those of the beginning of the school year and serve to worsen students' and teachers' spring fatigue," explained Minister of Education and Research Jürgen Ligi. "An extra break during winter will be beneficial and provide the opportunity to hear more about the joys of spring rather than fatigue."

The minister noted that the system has already been able to prove itself. "Feedback from schools that have already tested out the five-break schedule has been almost exclusively positive," explained Ligi. "Since this change will affect the schedules of hundreds of thousands of parents and children, we highly value the experiences of schools and local governments that took advantage of the exclusive right."

The proposal to switch to a five-break school year schedule was supported by students, school directors and local government representative organisations alike.

The breaks in the 2017/2018 school year, the first to follow the five-break schedule, will be scheduled as follows:

1. Autumn break: Oct. 21-29, 2017

2. Winter break: Dec. 23 2017-Jan. 7, 2018

3. Ski break: Feb. 24-Mar. 4, 2018

4. Spring break: Apr. 21-May 1, 2018

5. Summer break (excluding seniors): Jun. 12 - Aug. 31.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Estonia chosen as one of the best countries in the world for film production based on incentives

The No Film School have put together a comprehensive list of the world's best countries to make films based on government incentives and rebates. Estonia was ranked number one in the Eastern European category.  Here's why:

Film commission: Estonian Film Institute

Financial incentive: Up to 30% cash rebate for film productions. There are also hefty sums available for development, pre-production, post-production, and distribution

Requirements: The amount of aid is calculated as a percentage of the costs done in Estonia (up to 30%) and paid out retroactively after all the expenses are audited. The maximum grant can be applied if the film production uses Estonian-based filmmakers, actors, and other production crew. It can also be applied if the story is set in Estonia.

To read the complete list, please click here:
The Best Countries in the World to Film Your Movie, Based on Production Incentives

Rasmus Mägi Wins Men's 400m Hurdle Race in Lausanne - Diamond League 2016

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Look at the Estonian WWII Refugee Camp Geislingen

Geislingen Displaced Persons camp was the largest refugee camp for Estonians after World War Two. It was located near Stuttgart in southern Germany and housed over 2000 Estonians in repossessed German houses and other buildings. Despite the fact that Estonian refugees faced a bleak and uncertain future after WWII, (they lived in daily fear of being repatriated to Soviet-occupied Estonia) life went on in the camps and Estonian culture continued to thrive.

Many of the larger camps including Geislingen produced their own newspaper and many handicraft, dance, drama, choir and sports groups were formed. 

If your parents or grandparents were Estonian WWII refugees, you might find this booklet about Geislingen DP camp most interesting.

Poem about Geislingen written by Karl Torro.

School life

Saturday, 20 August 2016

A look at the Estonian national team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro

While the Estonia team may not be bringing home as many medals as they did in previous years, many of the athletes have surpassed their personal bests and set new Estonian records. On Thursday Rasmus Mägi did just that by completing the men's 400m hurdle race in just 48.40 seconds! Great effort!

Here are some of the other results of Team Estonia:

3rd place - Men's rowing - Kaspar Taimsoo, Tonu Endrekson, Allar Raja, & Andrei Jamsa.
4th place - Epee women's fencing - Irina Embrich, Erika Kirpu, Julia Beljajeva, & Kristina Kuusk.
4th place - discus - Martin Kupper
5th place. - discus - Gerd Kanter
5th place- wrestling - Heiki Nabi
6th place  - long jump - Ksenija Balta
6th place - hurdling - Rasmus Mägi
7th place - weight lifting - Mart Seim
8th place - fencing -  Nikolai Novosjolov
9th place - cycling - Tanel Kanger
10th place - fencing - Irina Embrich
11th place - sailing -Ingrid Puusta
12th place - fencing - Erika Kirpu

Then there are the Luik sisters who made history by being the first set of triples to ever compete at the Olympic Games in the marathon. Their names will forever be etched in history in the Guinness World History book. Luik sisters