Estonian World’s Best of 2012 – Life

Dear Estonian World readers,

First of all – Happy and Successful New Year to you all! We are starting our first full year and will certainly look forward of bringing you more content about global Estonians and write about worthwhile developments and people in Estonia. We will let more voices to be heard – from people who want to unite others, rather than draw barriers, let it be within Estonian communities or in general. We will also be hoping to introduce many exciting new features. After first six months of our existence, we clearly know that there’s a need for such a format as Estonian World – thank you! We are hereby briefly looking back to some of our most important stories from last six months, in case you missed some, starting with the Life section.

One of our first was an interview with a great friend of Estonia, The Economist’s international editor Edward Lucas – who reiterated that Estonia has clearly put itself on a map and that Estonians can proudly keep their heads high. Yet he also noted that much remains to be done and that there’s no harm to take look on a Swedish model: liberal entrepreneurial climate, yet there are cushions in place for people who have fallen between the wheels of capitalism, let alone a great education system:

Edward Lucas: “Estonia is now an insider, not an outsider anymore.” Interview with The Economist’s international editor

In our first feature story with cosmopolitan Estonians, we interviewed New York-based singer and actress Kristi Roosmaa, talking about life and career in the Big Apple, and Kristi’s collaboration with the Rolling Stones saxophonist Tim Ries:

Kristi Roosmaa: Life is full of inspirations! Interview with New York based musical singer & actress

Liisa Berezkin, our contributor from Tokyo, wrote that there are many ways to integrate into a foreign society. For Liisa, it was a Japanese sub-culture of 80’s heavy metal, with a little dose of Estonian sumo wrestler Baruto thrown in. As it cannot go unnoticed, Estonian World also bears a little tagline – “How Estonians See It”. In other words, while we write about Estonia’s success stories and global Estonians, our contributors from around the world also write about the life and environment around them. This was Liisa’s first take on Tokyo:

Life in Tokyo: Estonian sumo wrestler Baruto brings a smile to everyone’s face and hairsprayed 80′s metal is alive & kicking in the dungeons of Tokyo

Edward Lucas demonstrated his brilliant knowledge of Estonian history and wrote how he made Estonia a familiar name at the London offices of The Economist – by naming his office plants after historical Estonian figures:

How chilli peppers made Estonia famous at The Economist

Sten Hankewitz interviewed a former Estonian Jew Shmuel Lazikin, who now lives in Israel, but blogs in Estonian, for Estonians. In a wider context, there was one thought from Shmuel that particularly stroke a cord: “It’s harder for diaspora Estonians than it is for diaspora Jews to keep their traditions alive — because for Jews, there’s the Torah (the Jewish Bible) that ties them together. As Shmuel points out, the Torah has been the spiritual foundation of the Jewish people that has kept them together for millennia. “It means that Estonians have to work harder on upholding their uniqueness in the world. If that were to disappear, G-d forbid, the entire world would lose.”

“I want to tell all Estonians, at home and abroad — stay Estonian. Don’t assimilate. After all twists and turns in history, your independence is G-d-given and you have to cherish it with your heart and soul!”

Shmuel Lazikin — an Israeli who blogs in Estonian, for Estonians

Our first British contributor Chris Glew interviewed Sir Malcolm Bruce MP who reiterated what many Estonians like to hear: that Estonia should be classified as a Nordic country, rather than an Eastern European one:

Sir Malcolm Bruce: Estonia is clearly a Nordic country

For the first time, Estonian World created media waves when we wrote about a clip called “Kati and me” – short film made about Estonia and submitted to EstDocs film festival in Toronto by a Canadian couple Mike Dell and Kimberly Bagayawa. It was subsequently tweeted by the President of Estonia, T.H. Ilves, and picked up by major Estonian media outlets, as well as Canadian channels. Our contributor in Germany, Reelika Virunurm, interviewed people behind the clip and Katre Viilvere – the person who inspired it:

The story behind “Kati and me” – adventure, friendship and meeting Canadian Estonians

One of the most popular stories published by Estonian World so far was written by an Englishman David Foreman who has an Estonian partner and regularly visits the country. It was popular among Estonians and foreigners alike – people living in the country like to hear what others think of them and the rest read a different perspective from what is normally written by more superficial publications aimed at tourists:

Thoughts about Estonia from an Englishman’s perspective Vol 1


Photos: VisitEstonia/Estonian World/Picture pictures

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