Dear friends and colleagues,
We have the great pleasure of announcing that the foundations Estonian Institute of Historical Memory and Unitas have merged into a new foundation that combines academic research concerning anti-human regimes (previously the responsibility of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory) with awareness-raising (the responsibility of the Unitas Foundation). The new foundation continues with the name The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.
We are certain that research and public awareness along with educational work in this field complement one other and that coordinated operation significantly boosts the operations of both organizations that have been working separately so far.
The establishment of The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory was initiated by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in 2008. The foundation was established by Leon Glikman, Rein Kilk, Jaan Manitski, Tiit Sepp, Hannes Tamjärv and Indrek Teder. The aim of the Institute is to give the Estonian citizens a comprehensive and objective overview of the state of human rights in Estonia during the Soviet occupation. In its structure, the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory was similar to the Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (Inimsusvastaste kuritegude Uurimise Eesti Rahvusvaheline Komisjon), founded by President Lennart Meri in 1998, which investigated the crimes against humanity committed in Estonia during the German and Soviet occupations based on the definitions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory surpasses the frames set upon the research of the Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity and also collects data about such human rights violations committed during the Soviet occupation that are not crimes against humanity by legal definition. For this reason, The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory selected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 as the legal basis for its historical research.
The Institute has researched life during the Soviet time in detail and also supported collecting memories to define precisely and without ideological prejudices how and to which extent human rights were violated in Estonia. It is also the responsibility of the Institute to help Estonian citizens develop a better understanding of what they themselves or their parents and grandparents had to endure during the Soviet occupation.
The Unitas Foundation was established in 2008 by Mart Laar, Meelis Niinepuu and Damian von Stauffenberg. The goal of the foundation is to acknowledge the hostility of the totalitarian regimes and ideologies and to achieve an international condemnation of their crimes.
The foundation focuses on:
1) Education and awareness-raising (training of teachers, youth workers and young people; developing informative and teaching materials and methods concerning recent history and human rights; organizing study programs about history and human rights intended for young people; organizing conferences and public discussions; supporting research work by providing scholarships to students and researchers).
2) Reinforcing international cooperation networks (the foundation is a member of and cooperates with networks that connect public and private organizations in Europe; promotes the cooperation between teachers, historians, public and private organizations in the Baltic Sea region; collaborates with organizations and academic institutions in the US and Canada).
3) Organizing commemorative events (the foundation organizes public events and provides public information for commemorating the Holocaust, March deportation, June deportation and the victims of Communism and Nazism)
Both foundations are the founding members of the Platform for European Memory and Conscience (PEMC). PEMC is a network of state institutions, NGOs and private historical memory organizations consisting of more than 50 members today that was established with the support of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in 2011. Its aim is cooperating in investigating the crimes of the totalitarian regimes in Europe during the 20th century and raising international awareness about them.
The merger will take effect from May 2017. We hope you also see this as an important milestone in the development of the two foundations as well as cooperation in the field. We will keep you informed on the details of the merger and cooperation projects where relevant. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Member of Board
Member of Board