Maryland National Guard Adjutant General Major General Singh (right) at the Estonian display table with embassy representative and folkdancers. Photo by Karin Shuey
On April 12th, Maryland National Guard personnel met at Baltimore’s 5th Regiment Armory to show their ethnic pride, share their varied customs and cuisines, and recognize those of their State Partnership Program (SPP) nations of Estonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The entertainment program included members of the folkdance group Kabujalake from Paide, which is a sister city of Westminster, Maryland.
The annual Unity Day event was established in 2005 as a forum for the Maryland Natio-nal Guard “to enhance cross-cultural awareness and promote harmony amongst all our members,” according to their State Equal Employment Manager Stephen Kiiru. This was the first year that SPP nation representatives were invited to participate. The event was opened and led by the Adjutant General of Maryland, Major General Linda Singh.
The Embassy of Estonia provided samples of Estonian baked goods and informational materials about various aspects of the country and culture. Other food booths offered samplings from Afri-can, Asian Pacific, South America, Caribbean, German, Bosnian, Polish, Greek, Is-raeli, and other cuisines. Key performers included rock and R&B bands, African dancers, and Irish Pipers.
The Estonian highlight was the Kabujalake folk dancers, who spent a week in Maryland performing at several university and community venues. Their performances at this event were well-received and even engaged the audience in enthusiastic participation.
The next Maryland-Estonia cultural exchange will take place in June, when the Wana Wõromaa Wunkorkestri will perform in several cities across Maryland, possibly as part of a broader tour of the U.S. Please monitor EANC’s Facebook page for dates as more information becomes available.
Washington, DC Director
Estonian American National Council