About

From its founding in June 1949 the Vaba Eesti Sõna has steadfastly adhered to its mission as put forth in its first issue, so eloquently worded by then Consul General of Estonia, Johannes Kaiv, who foresaw the printed weekly as a messenger of Estonian spirit across America, to be carried wherever we Estonians are to be found. Vaba Eesti Sõna is the chronicle of Estonian-American events and activities, a reliable source of information on events past and future in our community. It is also a bridge, serving to inform the Estonian community in the USA on current events in Estonia and offering those in Estonia a window onto the activities of this segment of the Estonian diaspora. Politically independent, but strongly dedicated in its support for a free and independent Republic of Estonian, the newspaper and its dedicated staff continue to honor the English title under which it operates, `Free Estonian Word.´

Vaba Eesti Sõna is the only Estonian newsweekly in the United States. It is published by The Nordic Press, Inc., a New York corporation with its main office located at The Estonian House, 243 East 34th Street in New York City. It is managed by a Board of Directors elected as described in the bylaws of the corporation.  Its sole mission is to publish Vaba Eesti Sõna and to do so in the manner of a nonprofit organization. Principally a weekly publication, it encourages submissions from all members of the Estonian-American community and publishes content that includes news articles, features, opinion/commentary, and letters to the editor. It accepts pieces that may represent different viewpoints but reserves the right to exclude any material deemed by an editorial advisory board to be defamatory or factually incorrect. Material may be published in Estonian and English. Currently, the paper is issued in print and online. We are politically independent and driven by the principles of providing news in a trustworthy manner.

Board

  • Eric Suuberg
    Eric Suuberg is the current President of The Nordic Press, Inc., the publisher of Vaba Eesti Sõna, the only Estonian-language news weekly in the United States. He was elected to The Nordic Press board of directors in 2017 and took on the role of president in 2018. Born in New York and now residing in Rhode Island with his wife and daughter, Eric is closely connected with the Estonian and Latvian communities of the United States.
  • Leelo Linask
    Leelo Linask is editor of Vaba Eesti Sõna´s youth publication Väike Eesti Sõna (Little Estonian Word) and is Vice President of The Nordic Press, Inc. Leelo Linask is an avid youth advocate, freelance translator/editor, and an active volunteer in the Estonian community, fluent in Estonian and English. Born and raised in the USA, she firmly believes in the essential role of an ethical and independent free press in a democracy. She earned her degree in Journalism from Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Communication.
  • Kärt Ulman
    Kärt Ulman has been Editor-In-Chief of the Vaba Eesti Sõna since 2005. Born and educated in Estonia, Kärt has called New York home for nearly 20 years and now shares her time between two homelands. Having studied to be an architect, Kärt has nonetheless spent most of her working life in the media, at first as a reporter and editor for Estonian Television (now known as Estonian Public Broadcasting, ERR), and later as an international news editor and programming producer. As a freelancer, Kärt has collaborated as a journalist with most of Estonia´s major news outlets and has also worked in film production (Lonely Planet, Pilot Production, MythFilm).
  • Marju Rink-Abel
    Marju Rink-Abel has been active in several Estonian organizations in the United States. She is an elected representative to the Estonian American National Council since 1990, and council president since 2006. She represents the EANC in the Joint Baltic American National Council in the Washington, DC area, and in the Estonian World Council, of which she has been president twice. She also represents EANC in the Commission for Global Estonian Cooperation formed by the government of the Republic of Estonia, which was established in 2019.
  • Aino-Liis Vanderer Tõõtsov
    Aino-Liis Vanderer Tõõtsov has served on the The Nordic Press board since 2019. She holds the position of board secretary. A lifelong and active member of the Estonian community in the United States, Aino-Liis has participated in Estonians schools, girl guides, and other organizations from childhood to parenthood, and in leadership roles. By profession she is a civil engineer and also works for FEMA Emergency Recovery Team. Aino-Liis and her husband live in New Jersey, where they have raised their three children: Leili, Linnea, and Kristjan.
  • Aime Martinson Andra
    Previously also a board member of the N.Y. Estonian Educational Society, Aime Andra was elected to The Nordic Press, Inc.'s board of directors in 2007. She currently serves as the board´s assistant secretary. Faithful Vaba Eesti Sõna readers likely recall articles and poems authored by Aime Andra in the pages of the Vaba Eesti Sõna. A respected Estonian language teacher at the N.Y. Estonian School, Aime also worked with Estonian youth as a camp counselor at the Jõekääru summer camp. Aime has graduated from Manhattan College, and the Swedish Institute School of Massage. She has studied, practiced, and taught the art of Reiki, and has translated a book on the topic into Estonian.
  • Maarja Pärl Lõhmus
    Maarja Pärl Lõhmus is a long-time writer with the Free Estonian Word. She has been a member of The Nordic Press, Inc.'s board of directors since 2016 when it was necessary to oppose the pessimistic view that the Free Estonia Word was not worth its while and should be closed down. Maarja's position is that a journalistic newspaper that ties the community is more precious than gold. As a journalist, Maarja Pärl Lõhmus has worked for Estonian Radio and Finnish Yleisradio doing programs about literature, thousands of interviews, writing articles, and scholarly books. Maarja studied at Turku University in Finland, earning her Doctorate in the Semiotics of Censorship of the Totalitarian System.

Advisory Board

  • Aire Salmre
    Aire Salmre is an Advisory Board member and reader of Vaba Eesti Sõna since the very beginning in 1949 when she arrived in the United States as a 13-year-old girl. For decades Salmre has been affiliated with the New York Estonian School in many ways including being a substitute teacher who has used the Free Estonian Word as a teaching aid. She stands for including more youth in the newspaper and keeping the newspaper a community center piece to learn, share and unite the Estonian-American community across the United States. ´My observations show that Estonian youth in the US like our weekly Estonian newspaper and the Free Estonian Word should be included in the curriculum at local Estonian schools in the US.`
  • Mai-Liis Bartling
    Mai-Liis Bartling is the current President of the Estonian Society of San Francisco and an active member of the local Keele Ring and the area´s Estonian Community Choir (which performed at the 2019 Üldlaulupidu in Tallinn). She has been active in the West Coast Estonian League and was a member on the LEP-ESTO 2013 Organizing Committee. Mai-Liis Bartling has served on the EANC council and board since 2014. She lives with her husband in Novato, California.
  • Sirje Kiin
    Sirje Kiin has a PhD in Comparative Literature. She is a writer, critic, translator, journalist, author of 20 books. Her award-winning biography of Estonian poet Marie Under is in its second edition in Estonia, has been printed in Russian, and will soon be published in English. Sirje is a known op-ed writer for Estonian newspapers, domestic and abroad. Sirje has taught Estonian literature at Kotkajärve Summer University for ten years, and, in 2012, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Kotkajärve Summer University.

The Nordic Press

The Nordic Press publishes Vaba Eesti Sõna, the only Estonian language weekly in the U.S.

Our office:
Located at 243 East 34th St., New York, NY 10016
Tel: +1 (212)686-3356, fax: +1 (646) 558-7091
Office email: talitus@vabaeestisona.com

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