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May 10, 2011, Tallinn - This morning, visiting Maryland National Guard Adjutant General, Major General James A. Adkins, presented the United States Legion of Merit Medal to Brigadier General Meelis Kiili of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF). The medal was presented in recognition of Brigadier General Kiili's outstanding performance during his tenure as the Estonian Defense Attaché in the United States from May 2008 through August 2010.  The Legion of Merit is among the highest military awards the U.S. can bestow.  

The two performances will be held Wednesday, May 11 at 8:00 pm at St. Joseph’s Church (371 Sixth Avenue between Waverly Place and Washington Place) and Sunday, May 15 at 3:00 pm at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church (921 Madison Avenue at E. 73rd Street).
The Russian Chamber Chorus of New York (Nikolai Kachanov, Artistic Director and Conductor) will present the first concert of a new series, Russia and Beyond: Music from Former Soviet Republics. Acclaimed for its performances of well-known and rarely-performed Russian choral works, RCCNY displays its broader scope, with music from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—as well as New York premieres from Russia and Tuva — that helped keep local and regio-nal identities alive, despite the Communist regime.

ERR News - Sixty percent of Estonian youths want to continue their education abroad after finishing high school, and only 46 percent want to come back home, according to a poll conducted by Dream Foundation, an organization that offers study abroad programs.
Of the 1,216 high school and trade school students, who were polled between October and March, only 10 percent believed that Estonia can offer them the higher education they desire.

Some words of guidance and encouragement to voting members of the synods
The respected reader of this paper has been often reminded of atrocities that Estonian people, as well as other nations, had endured during the 20th century and with the legacy of which we all have to deal with until this day. Sixty seven years ago soviet troops invaded Estonia once again and this time they remained there for more than fifty years. Before the intrusion in 1944 significant part of Estonian people, including many members of Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church managed to escape to the West and immediately after arriving to the free ground started to create their own organizations and congregations.

 

Washington, DC --- The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC), which commemorates its 50th anniversary in April 2011, presented its Baltic Democracy Award to the two leaders of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe - Chairman Representative Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD). JBANC members met with Representative Smith on April 15 to present him with the award. 

This edition of "Tänavalt" comes to you from a tänav in the North-Eastern Estonian village of Viru-Nigula. It's a somewhat classic storybook sight: a community has over 15 dark patches in the tops of the trees (puude ladvus) surrounding a church. If this paper had a audio feature, the noise would be impressive. Such high-rise gatherings cannot go unnoticed in April, due to the still leafless trees and noise made by its participants. This is a rookery or colony of rook nests. Rooks (künnivaresed) are members of the crow family, who live across Europe and Asia and have a soft spot for churchyards (kirikaiad) and graveyards (surnuaiad / kalmistud). Here they are announcing the culmination of spring nesting above Viru-Nigula's Püha Nikolause kirik. We had witnessed an even larger colony the previous day above Jõhvi's Mihkli kirik. But nowhere else on our trip...

 

Washington, DC (JBANC) --- In its continuous effort to advocate for issues important to the Baltic-American community,  the Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC)  actively participated in an April 13 Advocacy Day for the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC). The Advocacy Day involved meetings with key staffers in both the Senate and House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress.  The purpose of the Advocacy Day was to communicate a unified position of the CEEC member organizations and constituencies to members of Congress on the following pressing priority issues: democracy development and human and minority rights – particularly with respect to recent developments in Belarus; Russia’s undue influence in Central and Eastern Europe; geopolitical security issues including energy and cyber security concerns in the region; easing of visa requirements; and appropriations programs for the region. 

The EANC strategy committee was formed at the September meeting of the Council to review and update EANC activities to meet current needs.  The distribution of a questionnaire among Estonian-Americans and the search for best practices in other nationality organizations are on the agenda for the current activity year.

Initially, the questionnaire is being tested at selected localities.  Arne Kalm discussesd the basis for the questionnaire at a meeting of the Los Angeles Seniors Club and collected filled-out questionnaires.  Scoring on a five-point system indicated strong support for EANC political activities, and less enthusiasm for financial support to local organizations to maintain real estate assets.

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