February 20 Event Canceled

We are very sorry to announce that the Pop! Goes the Culture: Why We Game? event that was to be held on February 20 has been canceled due to low registration rates. Hopefully we will soon have a new, more accessible chance to come together to discuss elements of popular culture.

In the meanwhile, you might want to have a look at the National Public Speaking Competition 2014 page: the competition itself is on March 1 and fast approaching, so come back soon for updates and news.


Pop! Goes the Culture: Why We Game? on February 20

In the next installment of our pop culture themed event series, we are taking on a question that touches the lives of many technology enthusiasts. Video games have evolved from simple 8-bit games to an immersive art form with whole university programs dedicated to analyzing them.

With that in mind, we invite you to come together to ask each other and answer the question: why do we game? What makes us reach over and over again for familiar games as well as new ones? Is it escapism? A thirst for gratification? The stories? Let’s share our thoughts and find out together.

You are welcome to join us at the next Pop! Goes the Culture event complete with great company, valuable insights, and snacks, on February 20 at 6-8pm in room S-416 at Tallinn University. You can keep up with updates about the event and suggest discussion points on the event Facebook page.

Please register by transferring the participation fee to the ESU of Estonia bank account.

Participation fee: 3 euros 
Send to:
Bank: SEB Eesti Űhispank
Account name: English-Speaking Union of Estonia
Account number: EE131010220069810014

Please write your name and the event as explanation.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Seminar on Public Speaking for Students

Friday, January 24 was a special day for the ESU of Estonia as we were able to meet over 70 students from all over the country for a seminar on public speaking and the National Public Speaking Competition.

The audience received advice and guidance from a number of speakers tied to public speaking and the ESU in different ways. HM Ambassador Chris Holtby provided some encouraging words and stressed the importance of public speaking in all walks of life. Phillip Marsdale, the Director of ILS Europe, introduced newly created learning resources for the NPSC, complete with videos and exercises, available for free here (follow the instructions on our Facebook page for access). As the Chairman of the ESU of Estonia and the Convenor of the upcoming competition, Zinaida Jevgrafova introduced the organization and its central annual event, the NPSC, in detail. Steven Wilson from Junior Chamber International Scotland talked briefly about the organization and went over the basics of public speaking. Emmet Tuohy, Research Fellow at International Center for Defense Studies and debate champion at Georgetown University, shared his perspective on what makes a successful speech. Finally, two former NPSC contestants – Triinu Lepp, runner-up of the first Estonian NPSC in 2009 and current Secretary of the ESU, and Deivi Õis, winner of the NPSC 2013 and finalist at the IPSC 2013 – shared their experiences at the national and international finals of the competition and gave advice to future contestants. 

After the speakers had had their say, the students were able to practice impromptu speech in small groups with help and feedback from Zinaida Jevgrafova, Emmet Tuohy, and Marje Liigus.

We extend our gratitude to all guests and speakers for coming out as well as to our member Marje Liigus and Jakob Westholm School for hosting the seminar. We sincerely hope to see all Friday’s participants and more at the National Public Speaking Competition on March 1. We are especially happy to have seen many students from schools that have registered for the competition for the very first time and are hopeful that their enthusiasm and interest will spread knowledge of the NPSC even further.

Hello, 2014!

A new year, a new beginning. We welcome 2014 and the freshly arrived winter chill and have decided to celebrate with a long overdue update on what we have been doing.

The year 2013 ended on a social note for the ESU of Estonia. In November we had two back-to-back events: a meeting with the US Ambassador Jeffrey Levine in his residence and the first fascinating pop culture discussion evening in what we hope to be many in a series under the name Pop! Goes the Culture. December saw us invited to a Christmas reception at HM Ambassador Chris Holtby’s residence, where ESU of Estonia Chairman Zinaida Jevgrafova thanked those who have contributed to the organization’s activities financially or otherwise in 2013: Chris Holtby, Alex Volohhonski, Phillip Marsdale, and Triinu Lepp.

You can see photos of our meeting with Ambassador Levine here and find photos from the Christmas reception below.

In January we were all kindly invited by the US Embassy to a free movie screening at KUMU, where we watched My Own Private Idaho (1991).

The first ESU event of this year will take place in February. We will publish more details about our upcoming activities soon, so stay tuned! 

New Pop Cultre Event Series Kick-off on November 21

The ESU of Estonia is glad to announce the first event in a series called Pop! Goes the Culture. The series will give participants an opportunity to discuss and dissect popular media surrounding us every day: from advertisements to video games, and everything and anything in between. The first event will be held on November 21 and is dedicated to the popular BBC series Doctor Who in celebration of its upcoming 50th anniversary special. For more information and to sign up for participation, you can visit the event’s Facebook page or send an email to esu.estonia@gmail.com. 

We look forward to seeing you there! 

Meeting with Mr. Peter McIvor

On the evening of 25 October the members of the ESU of Estonia visited the residence of the Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by Mr. Peter McIvor, the Ambassador, who was enthusiastic about meeting new people, and his charming wife, who kept the conversations going on and on, making sure her guests were not bored. When the last person arrived, the doors closed and we all took a seat around a big table. Mr. McIvor stood at the dais and gave us a wonderful speech about himself as a child and Ireland in general. Mr. Ambassador gave us two sets of copies with poems and colorful pictures of places he had visited in his childhood. The story Mr. McIvor told us was nicely illustrated with some interesting pictures and poems he had picked out. The story ended with a poem, written by Mr. McIvor himself. I think everyone in the room was surprised when he read it out loud for us.

Bare Cyclorama
by Peter McIvor

Was I touched by the colors of my childhood?
Autumn on the hills behind the school;
The waterfall in winter, frozen in mid-fall
And cold as steel, like the heart on return

After Christmas. Then pockets of bluebells
Below the Dog’s Grave path; the brighter blues
Of summer promising release, until September
Would bring the cycle round again.

Oh, I was touched all right. Yet, what I remember best
Is the bare cyclorama after the opera,
Footlights turned off, house-lights turned on;
Car-lights ‘stabbing the blackness’ on the coast.

And me, just begging to see what separates,
Wish from fulfillment: trusting still
Childhood’s colors to confirm themselves
Brighter and brighter as the terms passed by

We applauded Mr. McIvor for the wonderful story he shared with us and for all the time and effort he put into preparing this evening for us. Later on we were moved into the other room to try out some of the delicious dishes being served; there was a variety of flavors to choose from so no one was left unsatisfied. The biggest surprise was a dessert cooked by Mrs. McIvor herself. It was very delicious! All of the guests sat at the table, ate and chatted with one another. Mr. McIvor and his wife were at the center of every conversation and made us feel at home. The evening ended with us taking some pictures together and saying thank you once again for giving us such a warm welcome. I’m sure all the guests had a great time and would love to come see Mr. and Mrs. McIvor again!

Kathrin Frei, ESU of Estonia

Registration Open for Meeting with Mr. Robert Gilchrist

We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the upcoming meeting with Mr. Robert Gilchrist, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn. The event will take place on November 2 at 5 PM. To register, please pay the participation fee by October 28 as follows:

Fee: 7 EUR (members) / 10 EUR (non-members)

Bank: SEB Eesti Űhispank
Account name: English-Speaking Union of Estonia
Account number: 10220069810014