Foreign Ministry Cultural Stipends Awarded to Ewert and The Two Dragons, Ilmar Raag, Riina Sildos, Laine Mägi, and Kalle Kaasmaa


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Today Foreign Minister Urmas Paet presented the Foreign Ministry cultural stipends to this year’s recipients. The stipends are given in recognition of people who have helped to increase international recognition of Estonia through culture.

“We recognise the members of the band Ewert and The Two Dragons Ewert Sundja, Erki Pärnoja, Kristjan Kallas, and Ivo Etti for their successful breakthrough on the international music scene, which also helped introduce Estonian music to the world,” said Foreign Minister Paet. The foreign minister stated that Estonia as a musical country and our representatives of classical music are already well-known abroad. “I am pleased that other genres of music are now joining classical music. Ewert and The Two Dragons is one of the biggest success stories in Estonian music in 2012,” Paet noted. The band gave over 110 concerts abroad in 2012, and their success in Europe is also confirmed by the European Union’s European Border Breakers Award, which the band will receive in January 2013.

Other recipients of this year’s Foreign Ministry cultural stipends are Ilmar Raag, Riina Sildos, and Laine Mägi. The feature film “A Lady in Paris”, which was created through the co-operation of Estonia, France and Belgium, boasts the most international co-operation of any feature film based on an original screenplay this year. “The creation of this film vividly illustrates the great results that can be achieved through this kind of international co-operation in film-making. Therefore we are recognising the creators and actors of the film,” Paet stated.

Paet stated that also deserving of great recognition is professor emeritus Kalle Kasemaa, who has translated over 60 books into Estonian from primarily Hebrew and Greek, but also from Arabic, Yiddish, Latin, German, French, Albanian, and Cymric. “Through translating world literature, Kasemaa has opened doors for us to see different cultures and helped us better understand those that seem far-away and foreign,” said the foreign minister. For example, in 2012 Kasemaa’s translation of the book “Yacoubian Building” by Egyptian author Alaa al-Aswany was published.

While presenting the cultural stipends, the foreign minister also emphasised that the Foreign Ministry very highly values the contribution of today’s recipients and all Estonian cultural figures to introducing Estonia abroad. “I am very pleased that the diverse and high-quality works of our artists and cultural figures provide a wonderful opportunity to introduce Estonia to the world,” stated the foreign minister.

Last year the stipends were presented to Aivar Mäe and the members of the creative team of the 2011 Youth Song and Dance Festival Aet Maatee, Veronika Portsmuth, Märt Agu, and Raul Talmar.  In 2010 the Foreign Ministry cultural stipends were received by Arvo Pärt, Tõnu Kaljuste and Tiina Lokk, and in  2009 they were given to Imbi Paju and Tiit Ojasoo.

Photos from the presentation of the stipends:


© Consulate General of Estonia in St Petersburg Bolshaya Monetnaya 14, 197101 St. Petersburg, tel. (7 812) 702 09 20,