An International Conference in Toronto Celebrated the 100th Birthdays of the Baltic Countries

September 28, 2018

One of the main events during the Baltic 100 week of celebrations in September was the conference 100 Years of Baltic Republics: Statehood and National Cultures in the Globalizing World that took place on September 21-22, 2018.

Presentations were given at the University of Toronto (Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy) on the first day of the conference and were dedicated to questions regarding security and population policy. The keynote speaker was Mare Ainsaar from the University of Tartu, who gave a thorough overview of population issues and potential future scenarios the Baltic countries face. Piret Hartman (Estonian Ministry of Culture), Irene Käosaar (Integration Foundation), and Juri Dreifelds (Brock University) spoke on the topic of Russian-speaking minority integration in the Baltic countries. Aušra Park (Siena College, NY), Aurel Braun (University of Toronto), Marcus Kolga (MacDonald-Laurier Institute), and Andres Kasekamp (University of Toronto) discussed topics regarding security in the Baltic region.

The first day ended with the performance “APART” by Rakvere Theatre.

The second day of the conference took place at Tartu College simultaneously celebrating the building’s 48th birthday. The Dr. Vello Soots Memorial Lecture was presented by the Estonian National Archivist Priit Pirsko. Merli Tamtik (University of Manitoba), Soon Young Jang (University of Toronto/OISE), Triinu Ojamaa (Estonian Literary Museum), Anne-Ly Reimaa (Estonian Ministry of Culture), and Anu Muhonen (University of Toronto) presented during the session on language policy and identity. Speakers on topics surrounding cultural heritage included: Andris Vilks (National Library of Latvia), Dalia Cidzikaite (M. Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania), Jüri Käosaar and Triinu-Tiiu Tamm (KoguMeLugu). In addition, a panel discussion on cultural heritage included Piret Noorhani (VEMU), Ženija Vitols, (Canadian Latvian Archive and Museum), Petra Grantham (Canadian Baltic Immigrant Aid Society), and Andris Ķesteris (Baltic Federation in Canada, Latvian National Federation in Canada).

The conference was coordinated by the Museum of Estonians Abroad and the Chair of Estonian Studies at the University of Toronto in cooperation with the central political Baltic organizations in Canada The event was supported by the Estonian Studies Centre, Chair of Estonian Studies Foundation, Estonian Foundation of Canada, Integration Foundation/ Compatriots Program, and the Baltic Federation in Canada. In addition to the above mentioned individuals, other Estonian government officials participated in Baltic 100 Week, also holding work meetings with their Canadian counterparts, and meeting with local Estonian organizations.

The second day concluded with the opening of the exhibit “Estonia Through 100 Pairs of Eyes” and a festive reception.

Read more about the exhibit here

View the full conference program here