In 2015, the Estonia’s Friends International Meeting will be held for the sixth time. The idea was born in 2010 in a meeting between President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, entrepreneur Margus Reinsalu and the management of Enterprise Estonia. The aim of the event is to recognise investors, politicians and artists, whose activities and advice have helped Estonia develop into a European country with a dynamic economy and vibrant culture.
This article is published in collaboration with Life in Estonia magazine.
Another goal is to spread the message that Estonia is successful, interesting and open to investment. When introducing Estonia, Reinsalu has found that when someone simply talks about Estonia to foreigners they will politely listen but will soon forget: “However, if these same people can visit Estonia and see for themselves how successful Estonia is, what great opportunities are here for investment and how beautiful the environment is, then they will remember a lot more and will be likely to return.”
Every year a slightly different selection of friends is invited to Estonia, since the organisers would like Estonia to have a variety of good and influential friends all over the world.
The meeting gives those who have an interest in Estonia the possibility to meet and exchange ideas. This year’s symposiums main theme is “Identity: Online and Offline”.
Traditionally, one of the keynote speakers of the symposium will be President Ilves, who is widely recognised for his championing of e-governance, cyber security and cloud computing. The other keynote speaker will be Balaji Srinivasan – co-founder of Teleport, Inc, and a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Teleport, Inc, has built software for start-up people on the move and has released Teleport for Startup Cities, Bay Area Teleport and Teleport Flock to date. Andreessen Horowitz is a Silicon Valley-based world-known venture capital firm. They invest from seed to growth.
This year, the symposium will be held for the first time in the premises of the parliament.
On the same day the friends of Estonia will meet the Prime Minister of Estonia, Taavi Rõivas. In addition, Enterprise Estonia will organise a seminar on the topic “Estonia – Where Stuff Happens First”, which centres on Estonian innovation.
Besides discussions about Estonia’s development, innovation and investment opportunities, the guests of the meeting will enjoy a wonderful cultural program. It has become a tradition that on the first night of the meeting there will be a concert by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestraconducted by renowned maestro, Neeme Järvi. This concert has become a popular cultural event in its own right. Next evening there will be a concert by the beloved Estonian singer, Tõnis Mägi, at the Oandu watermill in Lahemaa, surrounded by beautiful Estonian nature.
Estonia’s Friends International Meeting is jointly organised by the office of the president, Enterprise Estonia and entrepreneur Margus Reinsalu. Feedback from previous events has been very positive and surely this year’s event will be memorable for all who will attend and will instigate many new friendships and interesting discussions on the future of Estonia.
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