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The President of Estonia will visit Chile and Antarctica in mid-January


President Kersti Kaljulaid will be on an official visit to Chile on 16-17 January, followed by a working visit to Antarctica to attend the closing event of the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica and the ending events of the expedition of the Estonian sailing yacht Admiral Bellingshausen.
The official visit to Chile will mainly focus on digital cooperation between the two countries and the development of business diplomacy, which will create new opportunities for Estonian companies.

The Estonian head of state will meet with her Chilean counterpart and representatives of the Chilean parliament. President Kaljulaid will also open the Chilean National Institute of Cyber ​​Security and visit several companies.

“There has already been a talk of deepening digital cooperation between the two countries, and agreements for an official visit were made at the September meeting of the Heads of State in New York. While Estonia is the world's digital tiger, Chile is the locomotive of Latin America, so there are quite a lot of possibilities for cooperation. There are also several Estonian companies in Chile, whose activities President Kaljulaid can support,” explained Lauri Kuusing, Foreign Policy Adviser to President Kaljulaid.
The official Estonian delegation also includes Ivari Padar, Chairman of the Estonia-Chile Parliamentary Group, Mart Tarmak, Estonian Ambassador to Chile, Lauri Kuusing, Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, and representatives of Estonian companies Cleveron and Timbeter.
After the official visit President Kaljulaid will travel to the city of Punta Arenas in southern Chile, from where she will depart for a working visit to Antarctica on January 20. There President Kaljulaid joins the Admiral Bellingshausen expedition organized by the Estonian Maritime Museum and the NGO Thetis. During the visit, the Head of State will visit various research stations on King George's Island and attend the 200th-anniversary event of the discovery of Antarctica on January 27 and 28.

“The participation of president Kaljulaid in the expedition to Antarctica will again make Estonia a little bigger than its national borders. This gives us the opportunity to tell the world the story of Estonia as a seafaring nation, but also to draw attention to important global environmental issues since neither ocean water nor atmospheric air know country borders. This is a good opportunity to emphasize the image of Estonia as a digital nation and to show that e-governance is independent of geography, and with digital signatures accessible from every corner of the world,” Kuusing explained. For that purpose the Head of State is equipped with a satellite communication device, provided by leading satellite companies in the world, Iridium and Thales, which based on new technology and enables data transmission any point in the world at any time, up to 30 times faster.

The Admiral Bellingshausen expedition is organized in honour of the Estonian born explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who was one of the first people to see Antarctica in 1820. The excursion began on July 4, 1819, from Kronstadt and reached the Antarctic coast on January 27 or 28. This year's trip repeats that journey.
In addition to President Kaljulaid, Timo Palo, the President's Climate Advisor and one of Estonia's leading polar scientists, will also take part of the visit to Antarctica. The Maritime Museum is one of the organizers of the Admiral Bellingshausen expedition, and throughout the 6-month expedition, various scientists deployed by the Maritime Museum have been on board to recall the most important chapters in Earth exploration in history and highlight current climate change issues.

According to Timo Palo, Estonian scientists have been involved in Antarctic exploration for decades, and their knowledge is appreciated today: “For a small country that does not have the means to establish its own polar station, international cooperation is the only opportunity to have a say in polar science. The Head of State will visit several polar stations that have had, or still have, cooperation projects with Estonian scientists. The polar regions are particularly vulnerable to climate change, making them the forefront of global warming, a kind of litmus paper where the consequences are most evident: shrinking sea ice, accelerating melting of glaciers and evergreens. Technological developments have made it possible to study in particular the continental glaciers in recent years and it has been found that the melting of the ice both in Greenland and Antarctica has increased significantly. According to scientists, this may mean that warming is reaching a point where the continental glaciers are becoming so unstable that there is no return. While the first act of global warming began in the Arctic, signs suggest that Antarctica plays a key role in the second act. Many important answers are expected in the near future,” Palo explained.
The Head of State will return to Estonia on 31 January.

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