Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 06.01.2012
Today Foreign Minister Urmas Paet presented the Foreign Ministry cultural stipends to this year’s recipients. The stipends are given in recognition of people who have helped to introduce Estonia abroad through culture.
“We are recognising Aivar Mäe for leading the restoration of St. John’s Church in St. Petersburg as well as members of the creative team for the XI Youth Song and Dance Celebration held in 2011 for maintaining and developing Estonia’s cultural heritage as well as sharing it with the world,” said Paet.
The foreign minister said that Aivar Mäe made a vital contribution to the restoration of St. John’s Church in St. Petersburg. “The St. Petersburg St. John’s Church played an important role in Estonian cultural life back in the 19th century. Through the year-long group effort to restore the church, Estonia has shown how much it cares about its cultural history,” said Paet.
The foreign minister stated that the members of the creative team for the XI Youth Song and Dance Celebration – Aet Maatee, Veronika Portsmuth, Märt Agu, and Raul Talmar – also deserve a tremendous thank-you. “Song celebrations are central to who we are as a nation. The Youth Song and Dance Celebration held in 2011 received a lot of wonderful feedback from many countries,” he said.
Over 22 000 young people performed at the festival and guest choirs from China, Canada, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland also participated. “In addition to the fun experience of participating in the festival, the youths from other countries also had the opportunity to become acquainted with our language and culture,” said Paet.
When presenting the stipends Paet also emphasised that the Foreign Ministry highly values the contribution that today’s recipients and all Estonian cultural figures make in terms of introducing Estonia abroad. “The works and intellectual activity of artistic and cultural people is a wonderful way to introduce Estonia, our culture, our society and our history to people in other countries,” stated the foreign minister.
Last year the Foreign Ministry’s cultural stipends were awarded to Arvo Pärt, Tõnu Kaljuste, and Tiina Lokk, and in 2009 they went to Imbi Paju and Tiit Ojasoo.
SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE, mfa.ee
Foreign Ministry Cultural Stipends Given to Aivar Mäe, Aet Maatee, Veronika Portsmuth, Märt Agu, and Raul Talmar