Book about the history of Jaan Tõnisson Institute

Jaan Tõnisson Institute celebrated Jaan Tõnisson's 150th anniversary by issuing a book about the history of the Institute. It presents an overview of the activities of one of the first non-governmental organizations that has been established after restoring of Estonia's independence in April 1991 and operating since this time continoulsy. The book resumes the history of JTI up to summer 2018 providing an overview of the topics and projects that the institute has been dealing with for over a quarter of a century, the centers where the work has been done, and the people who have worked for JTI. The quarter-thousand-page book contains photos, documents, and tables with data. Presentation of the book took place on December 7, 2018 in Vana-Viru Street, Tallinn, at the location where the Institute started its activities.



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 Palling, Janek 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 Saharov from 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 educaiton 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.