New chairman was elected for the Estonian World Council
The Estonian World Council (ÜEKN) gathered on May 26 and 27 in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, to hold its plenary session and elect a new chairman. The Estonian World Council is a non-profit organization established in 1954 to unite Estonians abroad.
The plenary was attended by 34 delegates from ten different countries in a hybrid format. In addition, observers from the Network of Estonian Organizations in Finland and the Global Network of Estonian Youth participated.
The Estonian Society of Lithuania had taken over the organization of the plenary session and the cultural program, and their leader Liia Urman was one of the main organizers of the important event.
During the plenary session, the delegates also visited the Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania, where they met with members of the Lithuanian Parliament and representatives of the World Organization of Lithuanians. During the discussions, it was recognized that Estonia and Lithuania face similar challenges in communicating with the diaspora and preserving their language and identity.
The plenary session lasted two days and several important topics were discussed. One in-depth discussion concerned the admission of the Network of Estonian Organizations in Finland as a member, but no consensus was reached. However, Finnish Estonians were given hope that in the near future they could be accepted as an executive member of ÜEKN.
The election of a new chairman also provided great excitement. The two candidates were Liia Urman, the chairman of the Lithuanian Estonian Society, and Sirle Sööt, the chairman of the Estonian Association of Sweden. After a secret ballot, the votes were tied 17-17. ÜEKN's rules of procedure stipulate in this situation that the ÜEKN chairman has the deciding vote, and this vote was given to Sirle Sööt, who was thus elected as the new chairman.
"I am very grateful for the trust that was shown to me. I hope that Liia Urman is willing to take on the role of vice-chairman and we can lead ÜEKN together," said Sirle Sööt. "Liia has done a great job in supporting the Estonian Society of Ukraine and involving the eastern diaspora for many years."
In the last part of the plenary session, the Minister of Education and Science, Kristina Kallas, presented the plans to amend the Citizenship Act in accordance with the provisions of the coalition agreement.
The plenary session culminated with a festive dinner in the Narutis hotel banquet hall, where words of thanks were shared. In addition to organizing the plenary session, Liia Urman was thanked for organizing the Estonian Voices concert and the meeting at the Embassy of the Republic of Estonia.