International Diaspora Conference in Tallinn

October 1, 2014

This fall the Baltic community commemorated the 70th anniversary of the great escape that took thousands of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to the West. In affiliation with that the Estonian Diaspora Academy in collaboration with Tallinn University Institute of History and Expatriate Estonian Literature Centre organized a conference for migration and diaspora researchers as well as archivists and museologists who are active in the field. The event took place at Tallinn University on September 18-19.

The conference managed to attract many key-figures in Estonian diaspora research from Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Latvia. The participants ranged from an even wider geographical area. Two days of presentations and discussions were audited by an interested audience. Both the more theoretical approaches as well as the more practical treatments were greeted with a keen spirit of investigation and thus provided ample food for thought.

On September 20th, the Estonian Diaspora Academy joined forces with the Museum of Occupations to host an oral history day where the stage was taken by people who had first-hand experience with living in the diaspora. They shared their families stories of escape and migration as well as provided insight into topics connected with settlement and acculturation.

The oral history day provided a scene for Estonian Diaspora Academy’s fist book presentation as well. „Mis teha? Siin ta on“/“Refugee“ by Endel Kõks and Arnold Sepp is a unique narrative in pictures depicting the life of Estonian refugees in German Displaced Person’s Camps during the aftermath of the Second World War. The humour embedded in the book offers valuable insights into the diasporic condition of the people who fled Estonia in fear of Communist persecution and as such has already attracted attention in the scholarly community. The book was re-issued under Ilvi Jõe-Cannon’s editorial leadership and with the help of many donors.

Maarja Merivoo-Parro