European Citizens' Initiative


Throughout its thirty years of operation, the Jaan Tõnisson Institute has actively contributed to the awareness, dissemination and consolidation of the European idea in Estonia. We have done this in several areas, especially by investing a lot in the content of education and teacher training. It seems that important goals have been achieved in Estonia also with our help. However, the idea of Europe is alive and developing. JTI is convinced that we have a citizens' Europe, but it needs citizens to be educated, informed and proactive. That is why we support good initiatives and activities to educate European citizens.



We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the educational tool for schools "EU Democracy in Action - Have Your Say with the European Citizens' Initiative' toolkit for schools". This rich material can be found on the website with information on how start using the materials provided. You can also get inspiration for your ideas there. For example, you could start by testing your knowledge of the European citizens' initiative with a quiz.


Cooperation with ministries

In the spring of 2022, the Jaan Tõnisson Institute, together with the Society of Estonian Civic Education Teachers, appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and the Defense Police Board to organize a training event for social studies teachers about the most pressing issues in the work of these institutions. On April 21, an information day for teachers was held in the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was very gratifying that, on the initiative of the organizers themselves, the teachers were invited to the next information day again on November 17. The teachers are very grateful for such an initiative. JTI expressed the wish that teachers be invited by the same authorities to receive knowledge again in the spring of 2023.



Project "Future is Now" seminar in Porto, June 30 - July 03 2022

Imagine this: You're in an organization, don't have lot of experience with Erasmus+ and you've been asked to take part of an APV (Advanced Preparatory Visit) in Porto Portugal. What is about to happen? Those were the thoughts of Carl-Marcus, Tõnisson's helper. When I arrived to the location, 2 other organizations were there. It's refreshing how you get to put a face to the roganization, instead of seeing an email screen looking back at you in the night. That evening we all took the time to met each other and the pleasantries of Porto, while members from Italy, Greece, Spain would arrive. The work started next day. We would go to the local conferene room to meet with everythgin that was important to the project: goals, particiapnt profile, organiazation goals etc. It was surprising for all of us how fast we did everything! Our work was so efficient because we didn't have to send endless emails or particiapte in yet another Zoom call just to piece together the main information concerning the training. We could all just get it done right there and then!In fact, we were so efficient that we finished 3 hours earlier than previously planned for our two days. Talk about progress! The training course "The Future is now! October 29 to November 04 2022 is so much more easier to plan. The training course teaches how human rights and climate change go hand in hand. Rest of the APV we discovered Porto. There I learned from Inducar, organisation of Porto that Portugal suffers the most of all European countries under climate chinage in the shape of desrtification, forest fires, rising sea levels, storms and etc. Makes you think of the scale that Climate change has on some of us. Portugal sadly can't deal with Climate change induced problems alone, it's the task of all of us to help reduce the effects if we don't want any of our partner countries to suffer. Thank you Inducar, for organizaing something like this! Thanks to this, I learned a lot more about Portugal and I now know to appreciate APVs a lot more.



25 Georgian social studies teachers on a study trip to Estonia

From June 27 to July 3, 25 Georgian social studies teachers were in Estonia on a study trip. The trip was part of the development cooperation project "Sustainable Development (SDG) Online Olympiad for Social Studies in Georgia" funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the participants had contributed greatly to the development of the theme of sustainable development in Georgia as well as the online student Olympiad. More than two and a half thousand Georgian students participated in the Olympiad. In Estonia, the guests got acquainted with sustainable development at different levels. Tallinn University, Tallinn 21st School, Riigikogu, Stenbock House, Kuusalu Municipality were visited. We went on one-day trips to Narva and Tartu - each city has its own sustainability program. Visiting the Georgian embassy and meeting the Georgian ambassador added to the homeliness of the guests.




Meeting of the project "Digital Transformation in Education for Democratic Citizenship"

The last meeting of the partners of the three-year project "Digital Transformation in Education for Democratic Citizenship" took place in Brussels from 31 May to 1 June. The project was recognized as successful not only by the participants in the project but also by the representatives of the European institutions. One such meeting, attended by representatives of the European institutions, took place on 1 June at the Representation of Lower Saxony in Brussels.



Development Cooperation Project Meeting in Tbilisi

 To follow and assess the progress of the development cooperation project "Sustainable Development (SDG) Web Olympiad for Georgian Social Studies", on May 04 - 07 in Tbilisi took place partners' meeting. JTI project coordinator held working meetings with the CETF project staff and visited Tbilisi public school No 55, where the students' project team presented their work done so far in the frame of the project. On-line working meeting was held with the teachers - multipliers from Georgian regions.


Projekti toetab #ESTDEV #FromThePeopleOfEstonia



Additions to the Estonian materials of the project "Digital Transformation in Education for Democratic Citizenship"

In addition to previous materials from the project "Digital Transformation in Education for Democratic Citizenship", recommendations for policy makers have been translated into Estonian.



The Nordic Council of Ministers has decided to suspend funding for the Baltic Environment Moot Court (BEMC) project

Due to the Force Majeure caused by the war in Ukraine, the Nordic Council of Ministers decided to suspend funding for the Baltic Environment Moot Court (BEMC) project, as Russian teams were involved in addition to its Norwegian, Finnish and Estonian partners.  



The first meeting of the participants of the project "Baltic Environment Moot Court" (BEMC) in Zoom

On 27 January, the first meeting of participants in a project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers took place in Zoom. The facilitators and those students participating in the project who had the opportunity to attend the webinar saw each other for the first time. Everything important about the upcoming project work was discussed.



The project "Digital Transformation in Education for Democratic Citizenship" was awarded the 2021 Grundtvig Prize

The EAEA Grundtvig Prize has been awarded since 2003. It recognizes an organization or project consortium active in the field of adult education, that has achieved outstanding results in the development of an international adult learning project. In 2021, the Grundtvig Prize was awarded to the consortium of the project "Digital Transformation in Education for Democratic Citizenship", which includes the Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten (AdB) (DE), the Partners Bulgaria Foundation (BG), the Center for Internazionale Internazionale (IT), Rede Inducar, CRL (PT), Education Development Center (LV) and Jaan Tõnisson Institute.



Launch of the project "Baltic Environment Moot Court" (BEMC)

From October 2021 to August 2022, the Jaan Tõnisson Institute will participate in a project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The project will raise young people's environmental awareness and skills to develop and present their civic attitudes about sustainability. The project is led by the Norwegian Academy of Human Rights, and in addition to Estonia, the participants are from Finland and Russia. The content of the project is simple - all participants thoroughly analyze one environmental problem and practice to defend its possible solutions from different points of view. The project will end in May 2022 with a five-day young partipants' international debate in Finland.



Development Cooperation Project Partner Meeting in Tbilisi

Since the beginning of September 2021 started development cooperation project No. 113-2021-A "Sustainable Development (SDG) Web Olympiad for Georgian Social Studies" that is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. On September 27 and 28 in Tbilisi took place the first face-to-face meeting of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute project manager and the Georgian partner Civic Education Teachers' Forum team. The aim of the meeting was to discuss thoroughly all the stages and elements of the project. A visit was made to the Estonian Embassy in Tbilisi, where discussion with the development co-operation field staff of the embassy took place.

 Projekti toetab #ESTDEV #FromThePeopleOfEstonia



Dissemination seminar of the project "DIGIT-AL - Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship" 

On September 24, 2021, a seminar introducing the Erasmus+ project "Digital Transformation in Education for Democratic Citizenship" took place at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater. The Jaan Tõnisson Institute is participating in the project with partners from Germany, Portugal, Latvia, Italy and Bulgaria. In addition to the presentation of the project, brochures on the digital age, produced jointly by the partners, were presented. The brochures brought to the semina room were disseminated to the participants of the seminar. (Brochures in English are also available online at

The seminar included a substantive discussion on education in the digital age. There was a particular focus on the curriculum. It was discussed whether curriculum, which is still largely considered a paper document today, will be also the basis for teaching and learning in the future, or will it change together with the development of artificial intelligence as well? Educational changes are possible starting from the planning of learning to teaching technologies and teaching materials, and finally to the measurement and accreditation of competences.




The Unsung Hero Dialogues - Promoting Solidarity and Diversity through Awareness and Policy Reform Final Conference

On 17-19 September 2021 in Erfurt, Germany, took place the final conference of 18-month lasted Erasmus+ project, which "photographed" European civil society and as a result worked out policy recommendations. The opinion of the representatives of all six partner countries was that the interesting material gathered during the project deserves further development. Therefore, the partners are ready to apply for new funding and continue cooperation. On behalf of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute the head of the Institute and the head of JTI Civic Education Center took part in the final conference.



The Citizenship Education Center will start implementing a new project in September
From September 2021, the one-year development cooperation project No. 113-2021-A "Sustainable Development (SDG) Web Olympiad for Georgian Social Studies", funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, will be launched. The agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and JTI has been signed and the partners have already held the first webinars.


The Unsung Hero Dialogues - Promoting Solidarity and Diversity through Awareness and Policy Reform project awaewness raising event

On August 10, it was possible to organize the only contact event of the project so far. The information event planned in the project schedule was arranged as a conference on Estonian civil society, the topics of which were diversified in the interests of the audience. In addition to informing about the ongoing project, the history of Estonian civil society and the activities of today's NGOs were also presented and discussed. The project and its results were presented on the conference both orally and in written handouts. Participants had the opportunity to fill in a questionnaire assessing the impact of the Estonian third sector situation, role and influence in the society.




The Unsung Hero Dialogues - Promoting Solidarity and Diversity through Awareness and Policy Reform webinars in April

In April 2021, 6 local Estonian events of the international project took place. Due to the limitations of Covid19, they were run in the GoogleMeet environment. Already in 2020, representatives of Estonian civil society organizations were asked to answer the online project questionnaire. At the April events, a comprehensive summary about working in non-profit organizations, prepared on the basis of Estonian data, was presented. After the introcuction of PPT with Estonian data the participants exchanged their views on the situation, wishes, problems, success stories, etc. of Estonian NGOs. The outcomes of the workshops will be mediated to the data-bank of the international project. The Jaan Tõnisson Institute thanks everyone who participated in our online discussions and conveyed their worthy thoughts.




The publications of the first series of DIGIT-AL publications have been completed

The Civic Education Center of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute participates in the project DIGIT-AL - Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship, which takes place from the end of 2019 to the end of 2021. Project participants have by now compiled a diverse package of materials that provide advice and support to civic educators in adult education in the context of digital transformation. Although the project became only Internet-based a year ago, it did not interfere with the achievement of the goals. Our first package of publications has been completed - both as web materials and in print. Eight brochures in English are available online at They also arrive in print in Estonia, and those who wish can receive them free of charge from the JTI Civic Education Center. Two more materials on civic education in adult learning are being created - one is a set of methodological recommendations, the other a sectoral policy one.


Appeal on educational issues

On December 17, the members of the board of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute and the Estonian Society of Social Teachers sent Appeal to the state officials and to non-profit associations active on educational field.The Appeal was motivated by the recently publiced educational materials on the Estonian media. The Appeal expresses solely the views of the signatories.It does not aim to launch a wide-ranging debate, but to draw attention to some of the problems identified in educational life, so that the institutions concerned and the institutions empowered can take a position and, if necessary, take action.


Jaan Tõnisson Institute meets Jaan Tõnisson Society

On October 24, the representatives of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute visited Tartu and participated in the board meeting of the Jaan Tõnisson Society. The focus of both organizations is different, but there are also common goals and interests. The possibilities of cooperation were discussed at the meeting.



Project Unsung Hero Dialogues in a pandemic situation

In the summer-autumn 2020, the partners of the project have been conducting online surveys of people working in the non-profit sector in order to find out the working conditions and problems there. The questionnaire was filled in quite well in Estonia compared to other countries, but more would still be expected. From 27 October to 1 November, a project summer school will take place in Mühlhausen, Germany. Originally, it was planned to take place in reality, but in a pandemic situation, travel is so difficult that JTI also had to give up sending its people to Germany. There, however, it takes place and during these days it is possible to participate in virtual workshops.


In the spring of 2020, a new work style

The global situation caused by the Corona19 pandemic fundamentally changed the everyday life of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute. Many of the international meetings that had to take place as part of ongoing projects were canceled in real life and were replaced by numerous virtual meetings in different environments. No virtual meeting replaces real face-to-face meetings, but we adapted quickly. Unfortunately, it was also not possible to submit new project applications, the deadlines of which fell during the state of emergency.


Jaan Tonisson Institute in partnership with Tallinn Veerise Kindergarten "The joy of learning through game: diversity / multi ethnicity / multiculturalism & sustainable development in preschool education"

The project goal is a developed toolkit focusing on introducing sustainable development, global and intercultural education for kindergartens, addressing both “what and why” and “how” issues in the teaching and learning process. The expected results are having kindergarten teachers with improved competences to introduce and nurture GCE objectives and children who from their earliest stage make value-based choices (tolerance, respecting differences, environment friendly stance etc.). The innovative character of the project is focusing on .a specific group (kindergarten children) that is usually not targeted through GCE activities and choosing “learning by playing” or “fun” as method. The expected change is the increased understanding of sustainable, development, global and intercultural issues among the kindergarten children. They will learn these principles at their earliest age and follow them through their adult life.

The project is funded by Bridge47 and co-funded by the European Union. 


Project The Unsung Hero Dialogues - Promoting Solidarity and Diversity through Awareness and Policy Reform 

Jaan Tõnissoni Instituut participates in the Europe for Citizens project The Unsung Hero Dialogues - Promoting Solidarity and Diversity through Awareness and Policy Reform. The project lasts until 2021 and is coordinated by Culture Goes Europe (CGE) - Soziokulturelle initiative Erfurt E from Germany.  Next to JTI there are partners from Rumenia, Portugal, Greece and Italy, and also DARE Network.


Training event for Civics teachers at Harju County Court

On December 11, a study event for teachers of social studies took place in Harju County Court in Tallinn. Judge Katre Poljakova from Harju County Court gave the teachers an overview of the organization of the hearing in court and introduced the court practices. The participants had a lot of questions. A tour for teachers was organized in the brand new courthouse on Lubja street. One of the aims of the training day was to introduce to the teachers the possibilities of organizing a study visit for their students to Harju County Court.


Updated syllabus for Compulsory School Civics subject

In 2019 the current Estonian syllabus for Civics was updated at the JTI Civic Education Center. At the start of the process all Estonian Civics teachers were invited to contribute to the modernization of the syllabus. The public was also informed about the ongoing process through the teachers' newspaper "Õpetajate Leht". 22 teachers, 233 students and 8 experts provided suggestions and opinions on teaching civics. In order to analyze the feedback received, a focus group discussion of the students and teachers took place. As a part of the process, two training days for teachers were organized in November and December. The short version of the document prepared during the modernization of the syllabus was presented on December 11 at a teacher study visit to Harju County Court.


"Dialogue of Civilizations and Intercultural Cooperation"

The Head of the Center for Civic Education attended the UNESCO conference "Dialogue of Civilizations and Intercultural Cooperation" held in Moscow from 1 to 4 December by the invitation of the Moscow State Pedagogical University.



Training event for Civics teachers in the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament)

On November 8 Riigikogu hosted a study event on Estonian foreign policy for teachers of social studies. Anneli Ott, Chairman of the Committee on European Union Affairs, Enn Eesmaa, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Marko Mihkelson, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs introduced to the teachers the issues of the work of the Committees. The event was part of the JTI's 2019 project to update the syllabus for Compulsory School Civics subject.


19-th ASEM seminar on Human Rights in Norway 

On November 04-06 2019 in Tromsø, Norway, was held 19-th ASEM seminar on Human Rights. The seminar was hosted by the Foreign Ministry of Norway. From Estonia  to the seminar was invited Head of JTI Civic Education Centre Mr. Valdmaa.


Meeting with the delegation from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science 

On November 1 Mr 2019 Andrus Villem, Director of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute, and Mr Sulev Valdmaa, Head of the Center for Civic Education of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute met with the 6-member delegation from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. During the two hours meeting the Jaan Tõnisson Institute was introduced to the guests. The focus of the meeting was on the development of Civic Education in Estonian compulsory education. In the 1990s JTI was the only institution in Estonia that systematically dealt with the design and integration of Civic Education course for the Estonian National Curriculum and fully supported this subject with the in-service trainings. Although there are many differences in Dutch and Estonian cultural traditions and history, it is possible to learn from each other.


Development cooperation project in rural Georgia 

In September-October 2019, JTI development cooperation project "Supporting the economic development of Georgian rural areas" continued in Georgia with its third visit to project regions: Pankisi Valley, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Mountainous-Adjara. Experts from Estonia and Georgia led workshops for local tourism entrepreneurs.



About European education in St. Petersburg 

Head of the Center for Civic Education Sulev Valdmaa was invited by the "Centre for German European Studies" to participate on September 28 in Sankt Petersburg on the plenary session of the conference "How is the Education Changing in Europe?" On September 29 S. Valdmaa held a workshop where he introduced to the participants current Estonian educational life and active teaching methods used in social subjects.


Project Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship 

Jaan Tõnisson Institute participates in the Erasmus+ project entitled Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship (DIGIT-AL) that lasts up to 2022. The project is coordinated by the Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten (AdB e.V.) and involves in addition to the lead partner from Germany and JTI partners from Latvia, Portugal, Bulgaria and Italy. The project launch seminar took place on September 25 - 27, 2019 in Riga.


On August 27 2019 in Berlin was held General Assembly of Europe-wide network DARE (Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe). The Jaan Tõnisson Institute is member of the network. New DARE Board consisting of 7 members was elected.


In the beginning of July 2019, a group of Georgian rural tourism entrepreneurs visited Estonia in the framework of JTI development cooperation project “Supporting the economic development of Georgian rural areas”. There were several meetings and visits to see Estonian good practices in South-Estonia and Läänemaa. Photos are taken at meetings in Georgian Embassy in Tallinnand at a meeting with the mayor of Haapsalu at FraMare Haapsalu Spa. The project is financed by Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the funds of development cooperation and humanitarian aid. 



Project CURE final seminar

The final seminar of Erasmus+ project CURE was held on 23. - 27. June in Tel-Aviv, although the activities of the project will be carried out until March 2020. JTI Civic Education Centre was one of the European partners that participated in the project. Participants of CURE seminar had also a chance to take part in the MOFET Institute's 7-th international conference "The Story of Innovation in Teacher Education".


Focus group discussion

On April 25, 2019 in the premises of Open Estonia Foundation, as a part of the project of modernization of the social sciences syllabus guided by the JTI Civic Education Center, took place a discussion with the focus group of students. During the discussion and following group work, the students gave an additional assessment and expressed their wishes related to the earlier written survey for the modernization of the subject of social science. ed to the earlier written survey for the modernization of the subject of social science.


In April 2019, JTI development cooperation project "Supporting the economic development of Georgian rural areas" continued in Georgia with expert-seminars in project regions: Pankisi, Akhalakalaki and Khulo. Most active participants will visit Estonia in the summer for a study-tour, introducing best practices in Estonia. 



Visitor from Indiana University

Head of Jaan Tõnisson Institute Civic EDucation Centre Sulev Valdmaa met on March 11 and 15 in Tallinn with professor Terrence C. Mason From Indiana University School of Education. JTI and Indiana University School of Education have long-lasting connections in developing of Civic Education in the Baltic States. Professon Mason visits in March 2019 Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia in connection of his research concerning progress and status of Civic Education in the Baltic States. During the meetings in Tallinn the issues of ongoing in JTI modernisation of Civics Subject was discussed.


Modernising Syllabus for Compulsory School Civics subject

Mandatory course of Civics in the Estonian compulsory school curriculum is at large very similar to the first version of the subject developed soon after Estonia's gaining independence after the collapse of Soviet power.  JTI Civic Education, relying on our long-lasting experiences in the field, deals in 2019 with the modernisation of Civics syllabus gathering from teachers, students and experts information and opinions concerning the content and teaching practices of the subject. The data will be analysed.


Supporting Economic Development in Georgian Rural Areas

JTI and GFSIS are currently cooperating a fourth joint-project in Georgia "Supporting the economic development in Georgian rural areas". The objective of theongoing project is to decrease the socioeconomic disparities between Georgian regions and to increase their welfare.


Overview of the History of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute 

Jaan Tõnisson Institute celebrated Jaan Tõnisson's 150th birth anniversary in 2018 by issuing a book about the history of the Institute. The book presents an overview of the activities of one of the first-established Estonian non-governmental organisations that has been established in April 1991 during the turbulant period of restoration of Estonia's independence and operating since this time continously. The book resumes the history of JTI from the very first days up to summer 2018 providing on overview of the areas and concrete projects that the Institute has been dealing with for more than quarter of century period. The Centres where the work has been done are described and the people who have been working for JTI are listed. The quarter-of-thousand pages book contains photos, documents and tables with different data. Presentation of the book took place on December 7 2018 in Vana-Viru street in Tallin, in the same building where the Institute was "born". 

Archive of the News

Public discussion "Does the EU destroy itself?" on 22 September 2016

The Jaan Tonisson Institute held a public discussion in the Parliament of Estonia about the future of the European Union. This was also the final event of the "Shaping and Debating th future of EU" project, where all participating countries sent their representatives. 

There were 21 participants present in the Riigikogu in Tallinn and there was an online video transfer via the largest daily newspaper Postimees

The event was funded from the Citizens of Europe programme of the European Union as part of the project "Shaping and Debating the future of the EU".


JTI participation on the ecological lifestyle event Ökomäss 2016

For second year the Jaan Tonisson Institute held a public discussion round on the future of the European Union  and its policies on 17.-18th September 2016 in the former Patarei prison in Tallinn.

The total of 206 people frequented the discussion rounds on both days. People were curious on the future economical policies of the union and many asked about the Estonian government policies with regard to the approaching EU Presidency by Estonia in 2017. 


JTI seminar in Estonian Parliament "European Union Development Cooperation as a tool to prevent crisis"

On 17th May 2016 the Jaan Tonisson Institute held a seminar in the Estonian Parliament together with the Speaker of the Parliament Mr. Eiki Nestor and MP-s Oudekki Loone and Henn Põlluaas on the topic of the European Union development cooperation role to prevent crisis situations and as a tool to deescalate conflicts. 

There were 37 guests at the seminar, who discussed the importance of development cooperation in the European Union and different approaches to EU neighbouring countries. 

The seminar took place in the frameworks of JTI’s ‘Europe for Citizens’ and Peipsi CTC's youth participation projects.

Speaker of the Estonian Parliament, Mr. Eiki Nestor Members of Estonian Parliament



JTI Seminar "Information war - how to stay alive in the battlefield of ideologies?" 13 April 2016

The seminar was organised due to the increased problems with information distortion about the European Union and its relations to neighboring countries in Estonia. JTI felt the need to hold a public debate on this topic to raise awareness. The event was organised in Tallinn. 

Although the event was oriented for younger than 30 audience, the 25 participants were mainly in the age group 30-65. This changed the discussion mood a bit, most of the people remembered the information war tactics from the Soviet Union era in Estonia. Therefore people focused more on historical comparisons with current situation. Still possible scenarios of the EU future developments were discussed. Especially regarding the public information sharing in the neighboring countries like Ukraine.


JTI seminar "Estonia and the Future of the Europe" 16 February 2016

This discussion event was held in Tallinn for the students of all universities to gather their views on the future developments of Estonia and the European Union. There were 21 participants at the event. The main presenter was Member of the Estonian Parliament Mr. Mart Nutt. Although there were not so many participants, the discussion was interesting and fresh, as the students raised many fascinating ideas, how the EU could develop and increase its role in different areas. At the same time JTI had a chance to explain the current political situation in the EU affairs to the students. One of the focus topics was how Estonia will manage, when the EU development funds (Cohesion Funds and other Structural Funds) are not available any more.

As a result of the seminar, the students gave feedback, that they learned a lot about the EU and about the possible future developments in the Union. They understood better that Estonia has to continue the development of its economy without the support of the EU structural funds in the future, as this is not sustainable in the long run.

The seminar was funded from the Citizens of Europe programme of the European Union as part of the project "Shaping and Debating the future of the EU".


JTI Youth Seminar in Mustvee, Peipsi Gymnasium

On 30th November 2015 the Jaan Tonissoni Institute organized an educational workshop in the eastern region of Estonia, in Mustvee town, together with the NGO Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation. Eastern part of Estonia is a border region with Russian Federation and most of the border is located on Peipsi lake (4th largest lake in Europe). The aim of the seminar in Mustvee Peipsi Gymnasium was to discuss with estonian and russian speaking pupils their views on the future of Europe. Whether and how they see their future in Estonia, Europe or in Russia.

During the workshop 29 pupils of the Peipsi Gymnasium discussed various topics regarding the envrionmental protection of the Peipsi lake ecosystem, transboundary cooperation issues between Europe and neighboring countries like Russia and their views on the future of Europe.  

The workshop took place in the frameworks of JTI’s ‘Europe for Citizens’ and Peipsi CTC's youth participation projects.



Public Debate on "Nationalism in Changing Europe"

On 24th November 2015 the Jaan Tonisson Institute held together with Estonian academic fraternal organisation a public debate on the topic of nationalism in changing Europe.

In the first part of the event established Estonian writers Peeter Helme and Andrei Hvostov discussed the political situation in Europe and how nationalism is perceived and debated in the 21st century. In the second part of the event, the roundtable panel with Estonian Social Security minister Margus Tsahkna, Member of the Parliament Mart Nutt and migration expert of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences Kert Valdaru discussed pros and cons of the migration.

Additionally to the 41 participants at the venue it was possible to view the event via online channel in the 2 largest Estonian media channels (Postimees, Delfi).

The recording of the debate evening is published on Postimees website - There were 1911 online views via the largest Estonian newspaper website Postimees. 

The recording of the event is published on Delfi website - In Delfi online news portal there were 400 online views of the event. 

The public debate was part of the events organized by Jaan Tonisson Institute for the Europe for Citizens project "Shaping and Debating the future of the EU"



Discussion event "The future of Estonian businesses"

On 25th September 2015 the 13 members of different Estonian entrepreneurial associations discussed with the head of the Jaan Tonisson Institute Andrus Villem the economic affairs in Europe. Main concerns were about growing signs of protectionism, which could hinder the founding pillars of the European Union (free movement of people and goods). Another discussion revolved around the future of possible cuts in the EU budget for the period of 2020-2027, as Estonia has to prioritize the EU funds more specifically in the future.

As a conclusion of the event the participants agreed that more attention should be paid to the protection of principal values of the EU, as the economic development and cohesion are the strengths of the Union, which are beneficial for the member states as well.  

The discussion event was funded from the Citizens of Europe programme of the European Union as part of the project "Shaping and Debating the future of the EU".


JTI idea gathering at Ökomäss 2015 from 18th to 20th September

JTI held a idea gathering and information sharing event on a 3-day sustainable development festival Ökomäss 2015 in September. Visitors of the festival had a possibility to tell to the JTI representatives, how they perceive the European Union, what are the things that concern them most in Estonia and in the EU, what they would like to change in Estonia and in the EU in the future. During discussions with people it was possible to give them more information about the EU and how the Union functions. At the same time this info day gave a good chance for the representatives of the JTI about the concerns of people and which questions are important for them. People had a chance to write their ideas and concerns "on a public wall", so JTI could summarize the results and main issues regarding the governance in Estonia and in the EU.

Most of the 238 people, who visited the JTI info desk during Ökomäss festival, raised the topics of sustainable development and EU-s role in global climate change activities.

In national matters people were mainly interested how the EU could help to preserve Estonian forests and voted this as the most important question on the public wall of ideas and concerns.

The idea gathering event was part of the events organized for the Europe for Citizens project "Shaping and Debating the future of the EU". 


Open discussion evening ‘Help, refugees are coming! Myths and challenges’ 11 June 2015

Picking and choosing who is and who is not welcome to Estonia is cynical, and damaging to the country’s image, as Member of the Estonian Parliament Mr. Kalle Palling explained yesterday evening at the Teacher’s House in Tallinn where political representatives and refugee experts debated the future of refugee policies in Estonia.

On the evening of the 11th of June, chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee at the Parliament of Estonia Kalle PallingJanek Mägi from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, political commentator Ahto Lobjakas and director of the Estonian Refugee Council Eero Janson discussed the present and future of Estonia’s refugee policies in the context of European Commission’s plans for refugee resettlement and relocation. In addition, Juhan Saharovfrom Johannes Mihkelsoni Keskus gave an introductory presentation on refugee quotas and the present situation of refugees in Estonia. The debate was moderated by communication expert Liisa Past.

‘It’s important to understand that by sowing hate and fear we also repel those Estonians currently living abroad,’ said the chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling. ‘I hope that Estonia will never become a country that markets itself with the brand ‘NOT Welcome to Estonia’’. Palling emphasised that in the coming years, all sectors need to work together to increase the state’s capacity to admit refugees and create conditions for integration.

Political commentator Ahto Lobjakas encouraged people to face the reality. ‘It is clear that the current situation with refugees cannot continue and that Estonia has to increase its contribution,’ he said on the topic of refugee resettlement and relocation.

The discussion evening was jointly organised by Jaan Tõnisson Institute and Estonian Refugee Council, and was funded from the Citizens of Europe programme of the European Union as part of the project "Shaping and Debating the future of the EU". There were 72 participants at the event. 

Estonian major news portal Delfi, providing daily news, broadcasted the discussion event live online. The recording of the event can be viewed here:  There were more than 500 online viewers of the event via Delfi website 


Youth participation forum

On the 16th of May 2015, Jaan Tõnisson Institute participated at the annual spring seminar of the Estonian National Youth Council. As a part of the seminar, the ENL and JTI co-operated in delivering a workshop/interactive simulation on exploring alternative forms of youth participation. Three working groups were formed to simulate policy makers, organised youth groups and unorganised youth.

The workshop demonstrated that while the 13 participants had little trouble identifying youth problems and seeking appropriate solutions, it was considerably more challenging to understand the perspectives of different stakeholders. What emerged from the simulation was a shared understanding of the need to develop communication and co-operation between local policy makers and youth organisations.

The workshop took place in the frameworks of JTI’s ‘Europe for Citizens’ and ENL’s youth participation projects.


The first Estonian-Senegalese environmental education e-textbook

In spring 2015 the NGO Jaan Tõnisson Institute and the Senegalese American Bilingual School published the joint e-book "The Earth Textbook" with the help and funding of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation Fund. 

The Estonian environmental education experts and Senegalese teachers compiled an online study material for West-African schools to learn about environmental education and more specifically how to draw attention to environmental issues with modern communication tools.

The textbook was made as an online textbook to allow widespread and universal use of its contets in the West-African region and elsewhere. The Earth Textbook is available from here 


Senegalese microprojects award ceremony

On Saturday 21st February the 12th graders of SABS received awards for their environmental education microprojects. There were altogether 10 teams participating at the microprojects competition and five winners were chosen.

Teams had an assignment to compile the action plan of their microproject together with argumentation for the project implementation. Each team presented their ideas and proposals to the jury, which consisted of Estonian experts and SABS teachers. The pupils had to search for solutions to reduce environmental impacts in the school, in the surroundings of SABS or in the districts of Dakar. The proposal had to include a detailed itmeline and a budget plan of the microproject. The proposal should present clear links to environmental issues in Senegal and in the global context.

The presentations of microprojects and results are published on the JTI e-education website.  


First joint Estonian and Senegalese environmental textbook is about to be published 

Estonian environmental education experts, who are compiling the study material together with Senegalese schoolteachers, are visiting Dakar this week (16-21 February 2015). The development cooperation project, which aims to publish the first Estonian-Senegalese environmental education textbook for Senegalese students, is funded by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the first meeting in April 2014 JTI experts and SABS teachers discussed environmental education practices and the structure of the study material. This week the Estonian experts and Senegalese school teachers met again to review the materials and to make last corrections to the exercise book.

JTI project manager Kaur Sarv said that in development cooperation projects one has to consider the long term results and various impacts of activities. “We know that one project is not enough to change environmental situation in a country and we have to avoid sending information from one partner to another. Therefore one aim of this project was to learn from each other while compiling the study material” explained Sarv.

The environmental education expert of JTI Rene Valner added that it was interesting to learn, when Senegalese teachers mentioned the peculiar way how in some cases cement was produced in Senegal. “Yesterday, while we were participating in the “Green Warriors” club in SABS, one of the environmental education teachers explained to the students how old car tyres, that arrive to Senegal as garbage from other countries, are used as heating material in cement factories. Such process would result in many toxic emissions. Hopefully this is not a widespread practice, but nevertheless we should ask in every country, how the materials are produced. What has been the impact of the production process to the environment?”

The joint development cooperation of NGO Jaan Tõnisson Institute (JTI) and Senegalese American Bilingual School (SABS) on environmental education started in 2014, when the first meeting of the project partners took place in Dakar.

The materials are produced in English and French languages. A web-based online version is produced in addition to print textbooks that all schools in Senegal could use the study materials.


New experts joined the Estonian-Senegalese joint environmental education project

NGO Jaan Tõnisson Institute compiles the first Estonian-Senegalese environmental eductaion study material, which focuses on environmental issues in Senegal. The chapters about situation in West-Africa are supplemented by Estonian experience in using the ICT solutions in environmental education, organising safe routes to school for pupils and about sustainable mobility management. Additionally the joint textbook contains guidance for pupils about urban gardening and eco-architecture.

Estonian experts cover in the textbook the importance of sustainable approach and explain the possible dangers of “greenwashing” practices, when things or activities advertised as “green” or “sustainable”  might not be actually sustainable.

The new experts in the JTI project are Mart Laanpere from Tallinn University, ecobuilding architect Rene Valner, landscape architect and urbanist Kaie Kuldkepp and Semiotics Ph.D Lill Sarv.

The joint development cooperation of NGO Jaan Tõnisson Institute (JTI) and Senegales American Bilingual School (SABS) on environmental education started in 2014. Main aim is to exchange environmental education experiences between Estonian and Senegalese teachers and to compile a joint textbook to  Senegalese pupils. The materials are produces in English and French languages. A web-based online version is produced In addition to print textbook that all schools in Senegal could use the study materials.  

 The Estonian-Senegalese project is financed by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs development cooperation programme.  


JTI compiled a study-material on forming cooperatives and about Estonian experience in rural cooperation
The study material is based on development cooperation trainings in 2013 and 2014 in Georgia, where Estonian rural and development cooperation experts were sharing best practices from Estonian transition period in 1990s after regaining independence. Link to the study material in Russian (file size 3,7 MB).


JTI organized a study-tour to Estonia for Georgian agricultural co-operatives

Samtskhe-Javakheti small farmers and rural development activists visited Estonia from 11th to 16th August to learn about Estonian transition experience on founding rural co-operatives and economic assotiations. The 5-day visit was funded by Estonian Embassy in Thbilisi and organized by Georgian NGO Regional and Local Government Development  Institute together with Jaan Tõnisson Institute. 

The European Union has initiated in 2014 the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgian regions to support rural development, food security and sustainable production by agricultural co-operatives. Due to similarities of Javakheti and Estonia in climate and crops the focus of study-trip was on potato growing and machinery co-operatives (Võru masinaühistu). Additional visits were made to Estonian Agricultural Research Institute in Saku and to Estonian Crop Research Institute in Jõgeva. 

Longer lectures were held in the Institute of Economy and Social Sciences of Estonian University of Applied Sciences in Tartu. There Estonian experts gave an overview of Estonian rural sector, explaining in more detail the farmers consultancy system, best practices for founding agricultural co-operatives and also about social entrepreneurship. 


JTI and GFSIS published the report of sociological survey in Kvemo-Kartli among Georgian azeri population 
JTI partner In the 2013-2014 Georgian development cooperation project GFSIS published the summary of sociological survey made in Kvemo-Kartli region among azeri population. The report includes recommendations from Georgian sociologists how to improve integration of azeri population into Georgian society. The report is part of development cooperation project funded by Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kvemo-Kartli report is in Russian language and available here.


Events "Evening with Ombudsman" starting from October

In the frame of the EU project "Evening with Ombudsman" were produced three short Documentaries about different violations of European Fundamental Rights that take place in everyday situations. Documentaries "Story of Kaisa", "Story of Dima" and "Story of Saima" will be demonstrated in different locations of Estonia on the events "Evening with Ombudsman" that start in October. The Evenings will attract attending people not only with documentaries, but also with short Forum Theatre plays and meeting with the representative of Ombudsman' s Office.


Estonian and Nigerian environmental education teachers met with colleagues in Senegal 
In April 2014 three Estonian trainers from JTI and NGO Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation (CTC) met with their counterparts from Nigeria and Senegal in Dakar. The aim of the meeting was to discuss environmental education practices in three countries and prepare programme of five microprojects for pupils in Senegal. The development cooperation project is funded by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The meeting of the partners of the project "New and Old Democracies" in Riga

On October 03 - 04 in Riga was held the fourth meeting of the project "New and Old Democracies" (NODE) that is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The topic of the Riga meeting was "Family in Democracy". The project participants met with the employees of Riga City Council and Members of Latvian Saeima. Presentations were made by the Latvian lecturers and members of the participating countries' delegations. The project brings together participants from Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. On behalf of Estonia the presentation was made by Ms Kairi Sepp from Tallinn University


Summary of sociological survey published about armenian minority in Georgia

JTI and GFSIS published a report about armenian minority in Georgian region Javakheti, which is based on the sociological survey made in spring 2013. The survey and report were funded by the Developmen Cooperation Funds of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The report includes analyses of current socio-economic situation and recommendation for better integration of Georgian armenian minority in Javakheti.

To download the report (in Russian language) please click here.