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Council members, Estonian Society representatives and guests who attended EANC's 2018 annual meeting in Philadelpia.

 

The EANC’s council for the 2018-2022 term held its first annual meeting in Philadelphia over the weekend of November 3-4, 2018. Twenty-eight of thirty council members attended, along with Estonian Society representatives from seventeen communities around the U.S. (some of whom are also council members). Several special guests rounded out the busy and informative weekend agenda.

 

Estonian Ambassador to the U.S. Jonatan Vseviov led off the guest speakers with greetings from the Estonian government and remarks stressing the importance of diaspora involvement in issues ranging from security to cultural and language preservation. He identified as one of Estonia’s priorities “making sure that NATO is capable and credible” to defend against any Russian threat. The U.S. can’t be secure without a secure Europe, meaning “defense of the U.S. starts at the Narva River.” Making the case to Congress of alignment between U.S. security interests and Estonia’s is one way Estonian Americans can help maintain U.S. support for NATO, which Estonia relies on as a primary deterrent against Russian aggression across its borders.

 

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Ambassador Jonatan Vseviov expressing the Estonian government's appreciation for EANC's work

 

Other guest speakers included Estonian American Andy Prozes, who talked about his support and promotion of Estonian entrepreneurs and start-ups in the U.S. and Canada. American Latvian Association president Peter Blumbergs and Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) managing director Karl Altau informed the audience on the work of JBANC and the importance and successes of cooperation among the Baltic American communities. Kärt Ulman, editor-inchief at Nordic Press, highlighted the unique role Vaba Eesti Sõna plays in publishing news of interest to Estonian Americans and providing an historical archive of the evolution of Estonian American institutions and activities since the newspaper’s inception in 1949.

 

Another important undertaking for the meeting was the election of this term’s board and officers. 

 

Marju Rink-Abel of Maryland was elected to her fourth term as president.

 

The following officers were also elected:

Mai-Liis Bartling of California – Vice President for Strategy;

Matti Prima of New Jersey – Vice President for Outreach and Treasurer;

Tiina Urv of Maryland – Secretary.

 

The other board members are: 

Kristi Allpere – Georgia

Marianne Brokaw – Michigan

Ivan Kavoleff – New Jersey

Sirje Kiin – South Dakota

Jüri Koll – California

Viivianne Malmgren – Virginia

Terje van Schaik – Florida

Toomas Tubalkain – Ohio (alternate)

 

The new council and board are excited to continue building on the great work EANC has done and finding new ways to be more helpful and relevant to the Estonian American community nationwide. Facilitating better connections among communities and engaging Estonian American youth were among the priorities discussed. EANC is looking forward to actively serving and engaging with its constituents over the next four years. Please check our website at www.estosite.org regularly for updates on our latest news and initiatives.

 

Karin Shuey

Washington, DC

Director Estonian American National Council

www.estosite.org 

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