President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Mrs. Evelin Ilves, who yesterday arrived in the Republic of Latvia for a state visit, today visited the Estonian School in Riga.
173 students study in the school that was re-established in 1989; one third of the students are of Estonian origin. The work is largely done in the Latvian language, but the school also teaches Estonian language, culture and regional studies.
Knowing the language of our close neighbours will help us to understand each other better, enriching our world, stated the Estonian Head of State, and he expressed his hope that the development of a contemporary Estonian-Latvian dictionary will begin in the near future.
"A broader mind and language skills are always useful. I do hope that you are keen to learn the Estonian language and perhaps even come to Estonia to acquire higher education and study real sciences or information technology," told President Ilves at the meeting with students.
"This is how you can contribute to the integration of two countries and become more successful yourselves. Bringing back home what is better in Estonia and bringing what is better in Latvia to Estonia. You are the generation that will soon shape relations between the two countries," told the Estonian Head of State.
In the morning, President Ilves opened the Estonian-Latvian business seminar in Riga; today, he will meet with the speaker of Latvian Parliament, Solvita Āboltiņa, Prime Minister, Valdis Dombrovskis, and Mayor of Riga, Nils Ušakovs; he will also attend a reception at Tallink's ship, "Silja Festival", which travels on the Riga-Stockholm route. Yesterday, after arriving in Latvia, President Ilves met with the Latvian Head of State, Andris Bērziņš, and placed a wreath at the Statue of Liberty in Riga and at the grave of the first Latvian Head of State, Janis Čakste. One of the founders of the democratic Republic of Latvia, Čakste, who can be compared to Estonia's Jaan Tõnisson, considered enhancement of relations between Estonia and Latvia very important during the first half of the 1920s, and emphasised our special neighbours' relations. Candles and flowers were brought to his tombstone in Riga Forest Cemetery during the Soviet occupation as a show of resistance.
Office of the President
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President Ilves at the Estonian School in Riga: you will soon be the generation to shape relations between our two countries