Civil society and culture

© Kaisa Kaer

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Venue: Tallinn Central Library (see on map)
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Original language: Estonian
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Civil society, or „vabakond“ in Estonian, is such a new word that is is yet to make its way into the dictionary. However, its meaning is quite clear, alluding to a voluntary association of people, their wish to get involved with social affairs, and to offer civil participation alternatives to legislative, executive and judicial powers. These alternatives often produce results that can be fun as well as remarkable. This year’s festival will be attended by the representatives of the most remarkable civil society in the Baltic States, the Republic of Užupis. Užupis is a district in the Old Town of Vilnius and its bohemian and artistic spirit has earned comparisons with Christiania in Copenhagen and Montmartre in Paris. On 1 April 1997, Užupis declared independence and our festival will be visited by the Foreign Minister Tomas Cepaitis and Ambassador Annika Grišakov. Thankfully, they will arrive in Tallinn without their 11 man army. They will be joined by Estonian civil society activists: Teele Pehk, the initiator of the Estonian Urban Lab and the head of the Estonian Cooperation Assembly, Juho Kalberg aka Jube Juss, the frontman of the Telliskivi neighbourhood association, and poet Mihkel Kaevats, who has added to the wild spirit of the Uus Maailm neighbourhood association.

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