HC Monthly

December 2023

Winter wonderland - white snow covers the land and the sun brings light.

Dear friends, Honorary Consuls of Estonia

An enchantingly beautiful winter has arrived in Estonia, the ground is covered by a thick white carpet of snow, and nature has put on a festive robe. The winter wonderland invites everyone to enjoy the first snow outside.

I enjoy the first snow every year and secretly hope that it stays on the ground until spring so that I can ski and skate a lot.

It's the most wonderful time of the year to have a nice cup of warm tea and think back on everything that has been accomplished this year. To rejoice in special meetings with wonderful people and to be grateful for everything that is beautiful and good in our life!

I would like to thank all the honorary consuls who let me know what they are doing and I can share these wonderful stories with you.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Tuuliki Mardisoo

Editor-in-chief of HC Monthly

Photo by Peeter Paaver

The Global Conference of the Honorary Consuls of Estonia, held in Tallinn and Tartu, 19-23 June 2024.

Registration is now open!

President T. H. Ilves is joining the University of Tartu in writing the next chapter in the global digital story!

The post-presidential resume of Toomas Hendrik Ilves includes lecturing at Stanford and Columbia universities and at the University of Tartu, focusing on cybersecurity, disinformation and the foundations of the digital society. In addition, he has taken on many international advisory roles with an aim to contribute to strengthening digital development and cybersecurity. This has included co-chairing the World Economic Forum working group the Global Future Council on Blockchain Technology and sitting on the Advisory Board of the Munich Security Conference just to name a couple among many more.

Now President Ilves has focused his energy and vision on exporting Estonian education by proposing and serving as the patron of a new unique executive master’s programme the Master of Digitalization Administration (MDA) at the University of Tartu. MDA is the first of its kind globally and serves as the equivalent of a master of business administration but in digitalisation. This programme capitalises on Estonia’s success and extensive expertise as a pioneering force in digitalisation both in Europe and globally, but goes beyond the unique local case and offers a comprehensive and comparative take on how to build digital nations across governance domains and national borders.

President Ilves himself joins many experts as a lecturer on the programme. Given that he played a crucial role in supervising and endorsing the digitalisation initiatives for Estonia’s public services and fostering the remarkable success of Estonia’s startup culture while serving as president, he has a wealth of knowledge on how to move the public sector towards adopting digital solutions and ensuring service uptake among the population.

The MDA programme covers a lot, starting with the technological, social and political prerequisites of digital nations, key technologies and governance designs powering most digital solutions, new ways of designing pro-active and life-event based digital services, as well as domain-specific challenges of digitalisation services for public health, education, labour market measures and sustainable development. MDA students will also have the opportunity to learn from the leaders of Estonian unicorn companies and be trained to recognise business cases that digitalisation offers in all mentioned domains.

As with MBA programmes, the MDA offers not only knowledge and a diploma from a top European university, but also access to a global peer-to-peer network in digital governance. The MDA is a one-year online master programme that includes a visit to Estonia.

For further information turn to:

Home page: ut.ee/mda

Facebook: /unitartumda

LinkedIn: /unitartumda

Estonian 15-year-olds rank first in Europe with their knowledge and they are among the strongest in the world

The PISA 2022 educational survey published on 5 December shows that the knowledge and skills of Estonian 15-year-olds are at the absolute top in Europe and in the top eight in the world with the top countries in Asia. This time the study focused on mathematics, but also assessed students' skills in science and reading. Among European countries, Estonia tied with Switzerland for 1st and 2nd place in mathematics, ranks 1st in science and tied with Ireland for 1st and 2nd place in reading.

Introducing you to our colleague, Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Italy, from Tuscany – Luigi Cecchini, Honorary Consul of the Year in Italy!

On 6 November, the magazine Gazzetta Diplomatica awarded the honorary consul of Estonia Luigi Cecchini, in Tuscany, the title of Honorary Consul of 2023. The ceremony took place at the Circolo degli Ester in Rome. The Italian authorities and Estonian ambassador to Italy H.E. Paul Teesalu were present.

Photo: Honorary Consul of Estonia in Tuscany, Mr Luigi Cecchini, the winner of the Honorary Consul of 2023 award

Estonian Ambassador to Italy H.E. Paul Teesalu (pictured right) congratulating the Estonian Honorary Consul in Tuscany, Mr Luigi Cecchini.

I was appointed honorary consul way back in July 2000, it’s been almost 24 years now. This great honour given to me has allowed me not only to know Estonia but also to get to know many Estonians, many of whom are my friends. I had the privilege of meeting the legendary President Lennart Meri, the writer Jaan Kaplinski, the entrepreneur Enn Kunila with whom I collaborated to organise the Kondrand Mägi exhibition in Florence. A particularly pleasant memory was the collaboration with Urmas Sukles, Mayor of Haapsalu, in organising the first wine days in Haapsalu. Naturally, I cannot ignore the particular relationship of collaboration and friendship with all the Estonian ambassadors in Italy and, in particular, with Jüri Seilenthal. This recognition that the Gazzetta Diplomatica has given me will be a further stimulus for my future work as honorary consul. As was the awarding of the Order of Merit of the Cross of Terra Mariana which was granted to me by President Ilves.

A warm greeting,

Luigi Cecchini

We have the honour of introducing to you Mr Motaz Raslan, who is Estonia’s new Honorary Consul in Hurghada, Egypt

Ambassador Ingrid Amer and Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Hurghada, Egypt, Mr Motaz Raslan

We have the honour of introducing to you Mr Motaz Raslan, who is Estonia’s new Honorary Consul in Hurghada, Egypt, with the consular district of the Red Sea Governorate. Hurghada is one of the top tourist destinations for Estonians, especially during the cold winter months, when we start to miss sunshine.

Ambassador Ingrid Amer had the pleasure of presenting the coat of arms of the honorary consul to Mr Motaz Raslan. We wish Mr Motaz Raslan best of luck in all his future endeavors as the Honorary Consul of Estonia.


Estonian musical legend Kristjan Järvi unites human creativity and AI

Estonian RAIKU raises €8.8M to scale eco-packaging with wooden springs

Fractory raises €4.8M to accelerate growth

Tallinn spending €50 million on road upgrades in 2024

Any decision to go down nuclear energy route in Estonia binding for a century

Estonia investing €300,000 into Kenya e-state development

Just Transition Fund’s success: Neo’s €100M magnet factory in Narva

A sustainable investor’s guide: Top 8 GreenTech pearls from Estonia

Estonia shines at Emerging Europe Awards for automation, education and investment promotion


'Misericordia' takes grand prix at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

Estonian Music Week highlights works of Rannap and Tobias

Lotte producers’ new animation wins top prize at world’s biggest festival

Poetry publisher wins Latvian, Estonian Language Promotion Award

Estonian minister of culture DJs at 'Rave for Ukraine' charity event in London

Seletskaja: Offering Estonian music to English National Ballet is a priority

Regional Meetings of Honorary Consuls

Estonia’s honorary consuls in Italy and Malta at a seminar with Ambassador Paul Teesalu and Jüri Seilenthal at the Estonian embassy in Rome

The traditional seminar for honorary consuls in Italy and Malta took place on 10 November at the embassy in Rome, where all honorary consuls participated:

Mr Luigi Cecchini, Florence, Dr Eugenio Kielland, Genoa, Mr Piero Bettini, Venice

Mr Giuseppe Iazeolla, Bari, Mr Antonello Miranda, Palermo

Mr Piergiorgio Valente, Milan, and Mr Ian De Cesare, Malta

Presentations were made by Erki Kodar, Undersecretary for Legal and Consular Affairs, and Jüri Seilenthal, Director General of the Department of Foreign Economic Policy and International Economic Organisations.

The presentations were followed by a question-and-answer session and a discussion, and the seminar ended with a joint working lunch.

Estonia’s honorary consuls in Italy and Malta with Ambassador Paul Teesalu, Jüri Seilenthal, Anne Mardiste and Aivar Tsarski.

The Embassy of Estonia in Warsaw would like to thank our Honorary Consul in Wroclaw, Mr Waldemar Sieminski, our honorary consuls in Gdansk, Mr Piotr Paluch and Joanna Paluch, and our Honorary Consul in Szczecin, Mr Robert Kornecki for attending the regional honorary consuls pre-Christmas meeting in Warsaw on 17 November. We truly enjoyed your company and insightful conversations about your business and cultural activities during this year, as well as plans for reinforcing the strong ties between Estonia and Poland in the next year.

Estonia’s Honorary Consuls in Australia and New Zealand gathered for our yearly meeting in Sydney on 1 and 2 December.

Thank you all for the wonderful discussions and all the various types of activities that you are doing for Estonia!


Danish Cuisine Brunch: A Testament to International Cooperation and Cultural Diversity"

The recent Nordic Cuisine Brunch, a highlight of the traditional Nordic Week in Narva, not only showcased the culinary delights of the region but also stood as a shining example of international cooperation and cultural exchange.

Organized under the initiative of Filip Rasmussen (Honorary Consul of Estonia in Vordingborg), Jevgeni Timoštšuk (Project Coordinator at the Narva branch of Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia) and Natalja Vovdenko (CEO of Valge Kõrvits café) the event was a resounding success, highlighting the growing bonds between Narva, Estonia, and Denmark.

The event featured Danish chef Kim Hemmingsen, whose expertise in traditional Danish cuisine brought a slice of the North to the attendees. His rendition of the classic smørrebrød was not just a culinary experience but also a cultural immersion, offering a taste of Denmark’s rich gastronomic history.

The 54th Women’s International Club (WIC) Charity Bazaar 2023

The Honorary Consulate of Estonia in Jakarta played an active role in supporting WIC in their fundraising efforts through the Annual Charity Bazaar.

We express our sincere gratitude to Mrs Piret Reintamm Benno for her dedicated contributions in sourcing several products from Estonia that were donated for the event.

The Women's International Club (WIC) aims to provide women of all nationalities with the opportunity to connect, foster friendships, exchange ideas, and gain a deeper understanding of different cultures. With a strong commitment to social improvement and the advancement of education, WIC’s primary fundraising event is the Annual Charity Bazaar, where proceeds are allocated to support various social causes. The 54th Women’s International Club (WIC) Charity Bazaar 2023 took place at our Exhibition Hall B from 8 to 9 November 2023. The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of Ibu Iriana Joko Widodo, the First Lady of Indonesia, accompanied by Ibu Wury Ma’ruf Amin, as well as the spouses of ambassadors and members of the WIC Committee. Their presence added a touch of honor to the event. Under the theme “Shop With an Impact”, the 54th Women’s International Club (WIC) Charity Bazaar 2023 featured 40 embassy stalls including the Honorary Consulate of Estonia in Jakarta, 225 local exhibitors, international food and beverage stalls, and a WIC white elephant stall. This diverse range of participants created a vibrant atmosphere at the bazaar.

The Charity Bazaar served as an excellent platform for visitors to shop for unique products while also making a positive impact by supporting the WIC’s charitable initiatives. The event showcased a wide array of items from different countries, allowing attendees to experience the richness of cultures through their purchases. In addition to the shopping opportunities, the 54th Women’s International Club (WIC) Charity Bazaar 2023 also offered various entertainment programs, cultural exhibitions, and interactive activities for visitors to enjoy. These engaging elements added an extra layer of excitement and made the event more memorable for everyone involved.

Overall, the 54th Women’s International Club (WIC) Charity Bazaar 2023 was a resounding success, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds to make a difference in the community. The event not only raised funds for worthy causes but also fostered cultural exchange and understanding among attendees. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all participants, sponsors, and volunteers who contributed to the event’s success.


Princess Adriana

Twenty Rakvere Triinu Kindergarten teachers had the opportunity to job shadow Danish teachers for three days. The host school was Gåsetårnskolen, in the Vordingborg commune.

Twenty teachers from Rakvere’s Triinu Kindergarten had the opportunity to job shadow Danish teachers for three days. The host school was Gåsetårnskolen, in the Vordingborg commune. Estonia’s kindergarten contact person in Denmark was Filip Dalthur Rasmussen, Honorary Consul of Estonia in Vordingborg. The Erasmus+ project “A learning environment that includes every child – best practices” was funded by the European Union.

Learning mobility took place in the last week of October (24.10-28.10.2023). On arrival day, the theachers got acquainted with the royal history of Denmark and admired the Roskilde Cathedral. Since Denmark and Estonia share a common history, it was exciting for the paticipants to visit King Valdemar’s town and see the historical Vordingborg castle. The guide for Estonians was Mr Filip Dalthur Rasmussen who spoke with great enthusiasm about the close relations between Denmark and Estonia, both historically and at present. Participants also managed to visit the Elmelund Chocolatier factory in Vordingborg where organic chocolate is made and it was once again confirmed that in Denmark’s environmentally-conscious thinking and acting sustainably is highly valued in every field. In Estonia, people are on their way to environmentally conscious behavior.


Klaus Schmied Klaus –
Linz, Austria

Anu Ethel van Hattem –
Perth, Australia (65)

Haggai Carmon –
Haifa, Israel

Guillermo Carlos Dezcallar
Enseñat –
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Diabaté Moussa –
Bamako, Mali (70)

Igor Goncearov –
Chişinău, Moldova

Alexandru Bobe –
Constanta, Romania (45)

Delaney Michael Skerrett –
Brisbane, Australia

Tomasz Posadzki –
Gdansk, Poland

Matthew Lam Kin Hong –
Hong Kong, China

Arkadiy Rubtsov –
Oral, Kazakhstan

Ramiro Rodriguez-Villamil –
Montevideo, Uruguay

Simpson Buglass –
Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Eric Edgar Maidlla – Houston,
United Staes of America (65)

Marcel Edwin van den Heuvel –
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tun Tun Win –
Yangon, Myanmar

From 3 to 16 November, an Estonian business delegation attended the Africa Tech Festiva in Cape Town with a Trade Estonia stand. The delegation of eight companies was led by Sandra Särav, Deputy Secretary General for Economy and Innovation from the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. The companies in the delegation were Admirals, Aufort, Bolt, DigioTouch, Latitude59, Nortal, Proud Engineer, Vertical Digital. Estonia’s visibility at the Tech Festival was very strong, representing Estonia – the Innovation Nation. The visit was organized in partnership with Enterprise Estonia and supported by our honorary consul Mr Werner Hämming and honorary consul candidates Mr Lasse Ristolainen in South Africa and Mr David Akinin in Namibia.


Mr Björn Hallin has started his mission as an Honorary Consul of Estonia in Malmö at full speed. He has been a great help to Estonian companies in order to land in Skane. Also, Mr Hallin hosted an Estonian mingle in Malmö on 15 November. Thank you, Björn, for bringing together the business and political community in Malmö! It was a nice occasion to promote our pro-business ecosystem and Estonia as a travel destination. Ambassador Toomas Lukk and colleagues had the privilege of supporting and enjoying that extraordinary event!

The Estonian Consulate General in New York would like to thank Mr Siim Sööt, Honorary Consul in Chicago, for his kind hospitality and great assistance in helping to organise a consular mission from the Consulate General in New York to Chicago on 17 and 18 November 2023.

The Embassy of Estonia would like to thank Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Bilbao, Mr Isidoro Alejandro Beltrán de Heredia Dreyfus for his invaluable support during the fruitful visit of an Estonian maritime sector delegation to Bilbao.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mr Josep L. Rovira, our Honorary Consul General in Barcelona, and Mr David Rovira, our Honorary Vice Consul in Barcelona for their support in ensuring a successful reception for Estonian enterprises in the margin of Smart City EXPO in Barcelona and our special thanks to David Rovira for his active engagement with Estonian companies.

The Embassy of Estonia would like to wholeheartedly thank Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Valencia, Mr Jose Vicente Morata Estragues for his exceptional efforts in organising Ambassador Andres Rundu’s visit to Valencia.

Pictured in the centre: Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Toulouse (France), Madame Hélène Berdoy-Mayer

We would like to thank our Honorary Consul in Toulouse (France), Madame Hélène Berdoy-Mayer, for her active work and representing Estonia together with the members of the Embassy of Estonia in Paris at the First International Forum d´Occitanie of the Consular Corps in Toulouse on 17-18 November 2023.

The forum brought together many official delegations of different countries, regional institutions and representatives, enterprises and associations, academic and student participants. Six high-level roundtables were organised to identify structuring trends, exciting prospects and opportunities for collaboration with the countries in attendance.

Photo: Kristel Amelia, Honorary Consul in Toulouse (France), Madame Hélène Berdoy-Mayer, Ambassador Lembit Uibo.

Photo: Estonia’s Honorary Consul General in Thailand, Bangkok Dr Virachai Techavijit, President Kersti Kaljulaid and advisor to President Kaljulaid Ms Triin Väljataga.

We would like to thank the Honorary Consul General of Estonia in Bangkok, Thailand, who helped arrange meetings for President Kersti Kaljulaid on the edge of the Thailand Competitiveness Conference 2023.

Together with the e-Residency team we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to Mr Žiga Peljko (Ljubljana) and Mr Boris Jukić (Zagreb) for their support and assistance in ensuring several successful e-resident’s ID pickup missions to Slovenia and Croatia throughout the year.

The Embassy of Estonia in Ankara would like to thank the Honorary Consul of Estonia in Mersin, Mr Nebil Taşçi for hosting the embassy’s retreat in Mersin and Kızkalesi from 10 to 12 November 2023.

The Estonian Embassy in Oslo would like to thank the Honorary Consul of Estonia in Trondheim, Mr Trond B Brekke, for excellent cooperation in preparing and executing the embassy’s regional visit to Trondheim on 30 and 31 October. The visit had many highlights, including a tour at the marvellous Trondheim Cathedral, meetings at the Trondheim Chamber of Commerce, investment funds Investinor and Viking Ventures, and at the Norwegian Technical University (NTU) together with SINTEF, a renowned research establishment. It is a special delight to visit the honorary consulate in Trondheim, at Schultz gate 1, where already the third generation of Estonia’s honorary consuls are at work.

The Estonian Embassy in Berlin wishes to express its sincere gratitude to the Estonian honorary consul in Hesse and Rhineland Palatinate, Mrs Astrid von der Malsburg, for her exceptional efforts in organising the visit of the Minister of Economy and Information Technology of the Republic of Estonia, Mr Tiit Riisalo on 23 November. The dedication of the honorary consul helped put together a very high-level and versatile programme at very short notice, laying a solid foundation for further economic cooperation between Estonia and Germany in the fields of biotechnology and digitalisation. The embassy would also like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to Mrs Astrid von der Malsburg for orchestrating another captivating conference in the “Frauen mit Format” series, titled “Media at the Crossroad of AI” on 28 November in Frankfurt am Main. The dedication of the Honorary Consul to fostering insightful discussions and promoting meaningful exchanges is truly commendable.

Pictuted: Estonia’s Honorary Consul in South Africa Mr Werner Hämmig and Ambassador Daniel Schaer

We would like to thank Estonia’s Honorary Consul in South Africa, Mr Werner Hämmig for preparing a business forum and meetings.

Pictured left in the centre: Ambassador Ingrid Amer, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Mariin Ratnik, Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Muscat Dr Amer Al-Rawas

We would like to sincerely thank Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Muscat Dr Amer Al-Rawas and his assistant Ms Shahenda Rabie for all their help and cooperation in organising the visit of Undersecretary for Economic and Development Affairs Ms Mariin Ratnik to the Sultanate of Oman on 20 and 21 November. Ms Ratnik was accompanied by a business delegation.

Undersecretary Mariin Ratnik with Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Muscat Dr Amer Al-Rawas

During the two very busy days Ms Mariin Ratnik had talks with Undersecretary for Political Affairs of the Foreign Ministry and meetings with the Minister of Economy and at the Oman Investment Authority. She also opened the Estonian-Omani business forum at the Chamber of Commerce. The visit was wrapped up by Ambassador Ingrid Amer with meetings with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, Chairperson of the SMEs Development Agency and a visit to Invest Oman.

Pictured: Ms Shahenda Rabie, Assistant to Estonia’s Honorary Consul in Muscat Dr Amer Al-Rawas, Ambassador Ingrid Amer and Acting Director of Divison for Business Diplomacy and Honorary Consuls, Department of Economic Diplomacy, MFA Mrs Hele Karilaid

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