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Dr. Olavi Arens, Ambassador Jonatan Vseviov and Professor Andres Kasekamp giving their remarks in front of the audience. 

Photo by Karin Shuey

 

The Embassy of Estonia to the U.S. has recently hosted several events of interest to the local community and beyond. Three of these were held at the Mehari Sequar Gallery in Washington, DC where a photography exhibit by a Brooklyn-based, Swedish-born Estonian artist Maria Spann currently on display.

 

Estonian American National Council (EANC) Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey was on hand at all of them to show support and report back to the Estonian American community.


The embassy’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty on January 31st at the gallery was titled Treaty of Tartu – The Birth Certificate of Estonia and featured a panel of distinguished historians. Background provided in the invitation set the stage for the event:

 

On 2 February 2020, it will be 100 years since the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty between the Republic of Estonia and Soviet Russia. By concluding the Tartu Peace Treaty on 2 February 1920, Russia recognized the independence of the Republic of Estonia and ended the War of Independence.


The Tartu Peace Treaty opened the door for Estonia’s international recognition. With the treaty, Russia recognized Estonia's independence for an eternal time forever de jure, voluntarily and forever withdrawing from all sovereign rights that Russia had had for the people and land of Estonia.

 

audience

Dr. Olavi Arens, Ambassador Jonatan Vseviov and Professor Andres Kasekamp giving their remarks in front of the audience.    

Photo by Karin Shuey


Ambassador Jonatan Vseviov made opening remarks highlighting the differences between the 1920 and 1939-1944 milestones in Estonian history. He reminded the audience that “history never ends” and that Estonia had help from many nations in winning its freedom.


“Estonia was not alone in the War of Independence” while in 1944, Estonians did find themselves alone. His remarks emphasized that “It’s our job as citizens to ensure [history remains] more similar to February 2nd, 1920 than to August 23rd, 1939.”


Dr. Olavi Arens of Georgia Southern University and Professor Andres Kasekamp from the University of Toronto provided interesting, in-depth discussions of the history behind the treaty and the events that led to its establishment.


The Mehari Sequar Gallery is the current home of the exhibit “The Heart We Left Behind” by photographer Maria Spann, on display through February 13th. The exhibit features photos of Estonians who fled their homes in 1944 alongside objects they brought with them or that hold significance from that time.

 

The embassy hosted the opening of the exhibit there on January 15th and a screening of the Estonian film “Risttuules” (“In the Crosswind”) on January 8th.

 

The exhibit created a poignant backdrop for the events held at the gallery and is available for display as a traveling exhibit.

 

If your community is interested in hosting the exhibit at a local gallery, please contact Maria at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Karin Shuey
Washington, DC Director
Estonian American National Council
www.estosite.org

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