Estonian President Kaljulaid Receives EUSTORY
The Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, patron of the Estonian national history competition, received representatives of the EUSTORY Network.
“We need to tell our stories – the ones from the past and those from today. Many Estonian stories are painful, but we must not forget them and we have to ask ourselves, where we can see the connecting lines between the past and the present.” The Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid received the EUSTORY organisers in her residence on the afternoon of 28 March 2019. Thirty representatives of more than twenty national history competitions were invited to meet the President in her residence in Kadriorg Park in Tallinn, Estonia. President Kaljulaid is the patron of the Estonian national history competition, which is one of the founding members of EUSTORY and hosts this year’s Annual Network Meeting in Tallinn together with the Körber Foundation.
Visiting the President was part of the Annual Network Meeting, which took place from 27 to 31 March. The competition organisers use these meetings as an opportunity to engage in cross-border discussions on current developments in the field of historical-political education as well as to exchange ideas and best practices from their competitions. In Tallinn, they discussed the mid- and long-term consequences of the political transformation in Estonia and Europe of 1989 and the following years of transition. At the centre of the debates was the question which social and political relevance these transformation experiences currently have in the respective countries. Furthermore, looking at the perhaps not yet fully processed historical experiences of radical changes and trauma, they approached the question which tasks will result from this for civic society organisations all over Europe.
A visit to the exhibition "My Free Country" in the Maarjamäe History Center of the Ajaloomuusem provided insights and impressions. The exhibition is dedicated to the eventful Estonian history of the last 100 years and examines the founding of the state in 1918, the German occupation in World War II, the forced annexation as part of the Soviet Union as well as the renewed independence in 1990/91. The group also dealt with the memorial of the victims of communism on Tallinn's Baltic coast. The participants discussed with Kristina Kallas from the University of Tartu how the forced integration of Estonia into the Soviet Union as a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact has been burdening the coexistence of Estonian Russians and ethnic Estonians to this day.
Within the framework of the network conference, Georgia and Moldova were also accepted as new members of EUSTORY and a new mission statement for the network was adopted.
Watch a short video of the Network Meeting (with English subtitles)