This conference is an initiative of Estonian Literary Museum, the National Archives of Estonia and Karl Ristikivi Society. The main aim of the conference is to give an overview of the current situation, achievements and problems in preserving the cultural heritage of the diaspora; to analyze and maintain cooperation and relations between national communities abroad and memory institutions at the homelands; to foster international contacts between Baltic communities and contacts with memory institutions of the states of residence.
Baltic refugees have been working for years to preserve their cultural heritage. Communities established archives, libraries and museums. Political and cultural organizations have collected their own archives, as have done individuals in their homes. For more than 15 years the memory institutions of the Baltic countries have been collecting these materials as well. The re-established independence of the Baltic countries has been enabled closer contacts between the diaspora and homeland, a better understanding of different histories and mutual trust.
Activities for preserving the cultural heritage of the diaspora have been important and fruitful so far, but they are no longer sufficient to satisfy current needs. Along with the Baltic communities, the situation of the archives and archival collections abroad has changed. Interest in recent history as well as a demand for access to the archival collections has grown exponentially. What must be done about the cultural heritage of the diaspora in a situation where the academic study of history is concentrated in the Baltic countries, but the refugees and their successors need support for their identity and a possibility for historical self-reflection? Where should the home of the archives be located, if they tell not only the story of "new" homes, but also that of the "old" one?
It is quite clear that the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Baltic diaspora needs better coordination, a concrete action plan and financial support (among other sources, from the Baltic governments). Specifying our needs, analyzing opportunities, coordinating activities and working out specific action plans should be the main objective of the upcoming conference as well as for all of us in the coming years. Broader international appreciation of these topics is crucial, because the future of Baltic archives is our common concern. Cooperation is not only possible but inevitable in a situation where the resources (people, money) are limited. Cooperation is even more possible and inevitable in a politically new situation for the Baltic states as members of EU. Archives are the main prerequisite for advanced history study. Our future depends on the ability to understand and explain our history to ourselves and to the world.
We are expecting:
Working languages: Estonian, English, Russian
Estonian Literary Museum
Vanemuise 42, Tartu 51003