Memory Institutions and Diasporas: Roles and Responsibilities

August 1, 2015

On 16-19 September, 2015 BaltHerNet will host its first North American conference in Toronto. This event, which will be organized in partnership with Estonian Studies Centre/VEMU will take place at Tartu College (310 Bloor St West, Toronto). On September 19th there will be a special program featuring Dr. Vello Soots` Memorial Lecture given by Prof. Thomas Salumets (University of British Columbia) on the topic “Sophisticated Simplicity. Arvo Pärt, Gerhard Richter, and Jaan Kaplinski” and the opening of the exhibition “Touch of Arsenic. Sketching the past by Arne Roosman”.

Participants of the conference are from memory institutions of the diaspora communities (archives, libraries, museums), representatives of cultural and other organizations, and professionals associated with memory institutions in the homelands and the countries of settlement (Canada, USA). Although BaltHerNet and VEMU are dealing first and foremost with the history and heritage of Baltic countries and their diasporic communities, this time we also encouraged representatives of other ethnic groups in Canada and USA to participate in the event. We like to include the experiences of those diverse groups who have been living together in the vibrant multicultural environment for centuries and to put our future plans into broader perspective.

Speakers of the conference are: Jorma Sarv, Toomas Kiho and Jaanus Rohumaa (Republic of Estonia Government Office), Heather Kelly (Bloor Street Culture Corridor), Tiina Kirss (Tartu University), Piret Noorhani (ESC/VEMU), Tiiu Kravtsev and Gristel Ramler (Estonian National Arcihves), Dave Kiil (Alberta Estonian Heritage Society), Ramune Jonaitis (Teviskes Ziburiai Lithuanian Weekly Newspaper), Eiženija Vitols (Canadian Latvian Archives and Museum), Ave Maria Blithe (Estonian Archives in the U.S.), Maira Bundža (Western Michigan University), Elizabeth Haven Hawley (University of Florida), Andris Straumanis (University of Wisconsin-River Falls), Heather MacLaughlin Garbes (University of Washington), Dani Breen (Lithuanian Museum Archives of Canada), Petra Grantham (Canadian Baltic Immigrant Aid Society), Danielle Manning (Archives of Ontario), Dace Veinberga (University of Toronto).

Presentations and talks will be on the following topics: the roles and responsibilities of diaspora communities and their memory institutions toward the preservation of memory, identity, history and heritage; support on the part of countries of originand countries of settlement toward the preservation of memory, identity, and historical heritage, cooperation and networking; academic research and its popularization; valorization and preservation of language; educational programming as a guarantee of sustainability; cultural exchange and mediation; national cultural and economic agencies in countries of settlement as supporters of diasporas. The full conference program can be found at: The working language of the conference is English. No conference fee.

Information:,, t. 416 925 9405