Opinion festival 2018: Are the Nordic countries still a role model for the Estonians?
Time: August 10, 14:00-15.30
Location: Paide, Democracy area
A recent opinion poll shows that more than 90% of Estonians consider the cooperation with the Nordic countries important or very important. But are the Nordic countries still role models? Should the cooperation be modernized, and if so, then how? What could Estonia offer for future cooperation? Could this region get its voice better heard internationally if the cooperation with the Nordic countries would be even closer than it is today?
Executive Director of the Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations
Kai is the head of a network that brings together Estonian NPOs. She previously worked as the international project manager for the Estonian Debating Society, which she still represents on the supervisory board of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), of which she is the president. She has also been a teacher at Leie Basic School and at Vesiroosi Secondary School in Rapla. In the National Institute for Health Development Kai led one of the biggest evidence-based universal prevention programmes. She also contributes to tenable social development as a trainer in a social company called SpeakSmart. Kai feels that Estonia’s greatest value is its active citizens who are willing to make a contribution and work together to find solutions to challenges, however complex they may be.
“There are so many different ways you can get involved at the grassroots level. If I notice something in my neighbourhood that’s not as it should be, I can share my ideas with the appropriate official from the local government, or a representative, on how things could be better organised. If I want to contribute to an activity in a specific field, I can donate my time or money to an association that operates in that area. If I see something that people should be taking better care of, I can take matters into my own hands and create something beautiful myself, like in the Lasnaidee project (https://tallinn.postimees.ee/2901321/lasnamaelased-kutsuvad-treppe-varvima). Estonia might be a small country, but there are lots of things you can do to boost your well-being and get involved at the community level.”
Member of Parliament
Taavi Rõivas MP served as the Prime Minister of Estonia from 2014-2016 after heading up the Ministry of Social Affairs from 2012-2014. In his role as the head of government he gave importance to cooperation between Estonia and the Nordic countries, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity, transport and energy. As the leader of the Estonian Reform Party he introduced the narrative of Estonia as a New Nordic Country in 2015.
Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia
Born into Finland's Swedish-speaking community, Haglund studied literary and political science and Swedish at the Åbo Akademi University in Turku before working as a journalist for a local newspaper. This led him to the Press Department of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which he rose up over the years to become its director of public relations – a role in which, among other things, he was Head of Media during Finland's first presidency of the Council of the European Union.
In 2000, after 14 years with the ministry, Haglund was headhunted by Finnair and went on to become the Senior Vice President, corporate communications and a member of the management board of the airline. Then, from autumn 2011 until autumn last year, he served as the CEO of the Finnish Fair Corporation.
What is your advice on how everyone can participate in democracy?
“It is of course very important to vote, but it is of course also useful to talk and be in contact with candidates before elections and thereafter with the elected representatives. Writing to them is good, meeting them even better. In case there is a special cause that is important for you, then you could join an activist group. The ultimate way of participating in democracy is of course to run for office yourself.”
Finnish Ambassador to Estonia
I am a Finnish diplomat and was Finnish Ambassador to Estonia for four years, my term will expire at the end of this month. I was working at the Embassy of Finland in Estonia also in 1993-1998. For the first time I was on a business trip to Tallinn in 1986 - at that time as the visa officer of the Consulate General of Leningrad. In St. Petersburg, I was working again in 1990-1992. So I have followed the life around the Baltic Sea for over 30 years. In between, I was working in Embassy of Finland in Slovenia in 2004-2008. I am married – we got married in Tallinn Dome Church by the way - and we have two teenage children. My husband has also lived in Tallinn for years, speaks Estonian and has built many houses in Tallinn. So we are the family from Talsinki.
High-quality management, well-being at work and strategic planning are important to me in my work. They result in productive operations and a good working spirit in the office. These are all very Nordic values.
I develop democracy in everyday life by discussing political and value-based themes with my own children and their friends. The social skills of young people are good and it is necessary to create an insight into the fact that one can have it´s influence by voting, but also by reflecting on social issues.