President's Writing Bee 2011: In and out of Estonia’s Doors
WRITING BEE OF PERSONAL STORIES
In and out of Estonia’s Doors
The patron of the writing bee is President of the Republic Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Organisers: The Centre for Ethics of the University of Tartu and the President’s Academic Advisory Board
Partners: The Office of the President of the Republic, the Ministry of Education and Research within the National Programme “Value Development in Estonian Society 2009-2013”, the Akadeemia and Akadeemiake journals, the Estonian Language Foundation, Digira and Petrone Print.
Throughout history, people have left Estonia to find their luck abroad and have also come back. The reasons for leaving Estonia have varied at different times. Many fled wars or hid from occupation, many have gone to find better opportunities for success, obtain education and experience, seek a better life, explore the world and find themselves. However, Estonia’s doors have never been as widely open as they are today.
So, why do people leave Estonia today? And why do they come (back) here? What should we do so Estonia does not run out of people? So people would like to live in Estonia, so Estonia would be the best place to live and succeed, to raise children and grow old? So people would not feel like strangers at home or feel at home away from home?
As President of the Republic Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in his Independence Day speech of 2011, “Estonia’s drawing power cannot be coercion, fear or obligation. Estonia’s appeal must lie somewhere else. Estonia must be such a likeable and liveable place that those who are here want to stay; those who left want to return; and all the rest, who have skills and savoir faire and take an interest in - or even love - our land and people, want to come here. But this does not mean attracting foreign investments. This does not mean higher salaries or lower tax rates than elsewhere - no, far from it. The key lies in a completely different angle: to be the kind of country where we ourselves want to live.”
The goal of the “In and out of Estonia’s Doors” writing bee of personal stories is to collect the experiences and stories of different people, which relate to:
- going abroad and coming from abroad;
- openness and success possibilities for people in Estonia and from other countries at home and away; and
- (re)integration both at home and away.
Send us your story and help us map the reasons for leaving Estonia and coming (back) to Estonia. Stories from Estonian people and Estonians living abroad, who or whose family have longer experience in staying or living abroad, are especially appreciated.
Some supporting and guiding questions for writing your story:
• What made me go abroad? What attracted me to stay abroad?
• Did I think that I would go only for a short time? For a while? Forever?
• Why did I want or would like to come (back) to Estonia?
• Why was coming back so difficult? What kinds of difficulties did I face?
• Why do I like to live in Estonia? Which changes need to be made here?
• Will I still keep in touch with Estonia when I go abroad?
• Relations between people here and there. What am I prepared to do in order to keep my cross-border relations? Where are my best friends?
• How can I use my knowledge, skills and experience for the benefit of Estonia? Do I want to do this? What have I done for Estonia already?
Terms and conditions
1. The length of your story should be 500 to 2,000 words (1.5 to 5 pages).
2. Please send your story via e-mail to eetika [ät] eetika.ee or by post to the Centre for Ethics of the UT, 7 Ülikooli, Tartu 51003.
3. The deadline for submitting your story is Europe Day, 9 May 2011.
4. The best stories will be announced and awarded in June 2011.
Please note! Please add a title page to your story so that it can be separated from your essay before evaluation. The title page should bear the title of the story, its author’s name, gender, age, place of residence, educational background (name of school) and contact address (these data will be used by the organisers only and not disclosed to any other party).
Stories will be evaluated anonymously based on the following criteria:
1. Clear train of thought
2. Captivating presentation
• All participants will receive a signed photo of the President of the Republic.
• Winners will be invited to the reception hosted by the President of the Republic in June.
• The best stories will be published in the Akadeemia journal or in a separate collection; the best stories written by students will be published in the Akadeemiake journal.
• The winners of the writing bee will be awarded prizes from the Ministry of Education and Research, Digira, the Estonian Language Foundation and Petrone Print.
• All interesting stories (anonymously if requested) and the results of the writing bee will be published on the Ethics in Estonia website at www.eetika.ee.