Top ten reasons to attend the Estonian American National Council gala

The Estonian American National Council (EANC) is taking the show on the road. This year’s annual meeting, public programme and awards presentation will take place in San Francisco, California, on 5 November 2016 and will include timely panels and an awards gala.

Detailed information and registration is available on the EANC website. But, to whet your appetite, here are 10 encouraging reasons to register now:

1. You think Marina Kaljurand is a boat dock at Fisherman’s Wharf. If so, you would be mistaken. Kaljurand is the former foreign minister of Estonia and the current presidential candidate. She will be the distinguished keynote speaker at this year’s awards gala.

2. You are a huge fan of Melville and his work. Not, not that Melville… there will be no discussions of the allegories sprinkled throughout Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. But, rather, James Melville, the US ambassador to Estonia, will be hosting a whale of a time discussing current American-Estonian relations.

3. You shiver at the thought of the Cold War. Well, grab a coat because even if we’re technically not in a new Cold War, there is a chill settling over the northern Atlantic. And this cold front, whose line perfectly mirrors the political boundary between Eastern Europe and Russia, is a barometer of NATO’s renewed relevancy. Come hear the international weather forecast as Kurt Volker, a NATO expert, and other guests present a panel on “Transatlantic Security – US-Estonian relations”.

4. You think Singing Revolution is to documentaries as Gone with the Wind is to films. Meaning, it’s hard to get any better. If so, come hear the Singing Revolution co-writer and co-director James Tusty moderate a panel on “telling our stories”.

5. You like Vladimir Putin as much as you like you’d like finding vermin in your frikadellisupp (Estonian meatball soup). One would think this aversion would be universal, but unfortunately, it’s not. But for those in the know, the EANC will be screening The Master Plan, which is a film that explores how Putin continues to interfere with the Baltic states in nefarious ways, even worse than tampering with the national soup.

6. You are convinced Estonians are not funny. Stoic, efficient, stubborn – yeah, probably. Well the comedy stylings of Andy Valvur, a stand-up comedian, writer, actor, voice-over artist and this year’s gala emcee, will change your mind.

7. You are convinced there is no such thing as a free lunch. Wrong again. The weekend will include a luncheon, hosted by Enterprise Estonia, Silicon Valley. Here, while gorging on a plate of various no-charge delicacies, local Estonian entrepreneurs and investors will give participants an opportunity to hear about a prospering Estonian-American business sector (just don’t forget to preregister… otherwise there really won’t be a free lunch).

8. Due to prior commitments, you couldn’t make it to Eurovision 2005. You would not be alone. But fear not, Euro music fan. Laura Põldvere, who represented Estonia in Eurovision 2005 as part of the group SunTribe and took part in Eesti Laul 2007, will perform during the evening gala.

9. You know a non-Estonian estophile and you’ve always wondered, “Why? What the heck is the matter with this person?”How in the world does this happen, when one has a greater affinity for Estonia than those with Estonian DNA? Well, there’s actually an award for such a person and this year, Lonnie Cline is the recipient. As founder of the internationally recognised Unistus chamber choir, Cline forged lasting ties between Oregon and Estonia.

10. You really like tax deductions. As the EANC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organisation, all donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. So, help your tax return while simultaneously helping an outstanding organisation continue its mission.

I

Cover image: the San Francisco cable car (photo by Sten Hankewitz).

Enjoyed this article?
Please consider becoming a supporter.


About the author: Andres Simonson

Andres is first generation American of Estonian descent. An enthusiastic estophile, he is an environmental consultant holding a bachelor's degree in environmental science and a master's in city and regional planning, concentrating in environmental planning. He resides in Red Bank, New Jersey, with his loving wife and three darling daughters.