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President Kaljulaid to European Heads of State in Tartu: a century ago it was a crucial time in all our stories

XVIII Gaudeamuse avakontsert.
Festivities culminated with the opening ceremony of Gaudeamus with fire, light and music at the banks of the river Emajõgi in the center of Tartu.
© Raigo Pajula/Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei


„On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, we are graced today by the presence of good friends with whom we share common values. A century ago, they, like us, went through a crucial period in the formative years of their statehood," president of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid said to the Heads of State gathered in Tartu.

"Estonia shares a special bond with you all. A bond that over the past 100 years has been multi-layered and goes well beyond the centenaries of our countries. The connection we have is of course not limited only to Tartu and education. But it is a fine example of the connection that by now has extended to all areas of cooperation from traditional to digital and in many spheres goes beyond our countries and regions. And there is one particular thing that binds us together – we all have the same understanding of freedom and independence of our countries. We share democratic values. At the time when our values, freedoms and way of living are under systematic pressure, we must uphold the cornerstones of our societies and stay united," president Kaljulaid said.

Estonian Head of State also explained that Tartu and the University of Tartu are also an important centre for others and a strong symbolic bond linking us all. "The university is what made Tartu into what it is for Estonians and the entire world. Above all, it is a key bulwark for Estonians' and Europeans' academic world," president Kaljulaid said.

Today President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelašvili, President of Iceland Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis, President of Poland Andrzej Duda and President of Finland Sauli Niinistö are in Tartu to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Estonia.

Presidents will visit the science center Ahhaa and also Estonian National Museum and attend a dinner hosted by President Kaljulaid at the White Hall of the Museum of Tartu University and the day will culminate with the opening ceremony of Gaudeamus with fire, light and music at the banks of the river Emajõgi in the center of Tartu.

Full speech can be found here.