Our winners of the EUSTORY history competitions and participants in the 1st Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue had a full week of debates and discussions. They met the Estonian Minister of Education Jevgeni Ossinovski and the Mayor of Ivangorod Tatjana Sharova, as well as the German Ambassador to Estonia. There were excursions in Tallinn and Narva in Estonia and Ivangorod in Russia. The week was thought provoking and reflection centered – about borders and identities of past and present, about personal limitations and aspects of self-identification and recognition. This all resulted in #balticeye, the virtual exhibition of young Europeans.
After returning back from the 1st Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue, the participants reflected about what they learned and what thoughts and emotions they brought home. Here are some voices and impressions:
“What surprised me the most was that over 22% of the people living in Narva did not have citizenship. One of the main reasons for this I understood was that many felt just as much Russian as Estonian, and did not want to choose between them.”
“I had never thought about the question of Baltic identity that intensively. I have never previously crossed a border as consciously as we did when we went to Invangorod, Russia. The aspect I liked the most was when we had time to walk around and take pictures for the exhibition. While being active it is much easier for me to reflect on stuff instead of when I am sitting and listening. That’s why I also liked the task that was set to find out something about a sight in Tallinn and to interview a stranger.”
“I was surprised by the huge difference of the socioeconomic situation on the Russian side of the river in comparison with Estonia. Another really astonishing thing was the sight of so many monuments and other footprints of the Soviet past, even on the Estonian side.”
Ester, Czech Republic
“The so-called alien passports surprised me the most, I think. I’ve never heard about them and I didn’t know it’s even possible to not have any citizenship.”
“Talking about the Baltic Identity issue I was surprised that we were indeed able to identify similarities in the way people view life all around the Baltic Sea such as religion, sports and the economic and political system, but when we compared our results in the end no one took a stand declaring his or her Baltic identity. For my share I feel like I am able to answer the question about my personal “identity” now more easily than before the seminar and additionally was introduced to a number of new designs of identity, which may help to put oneself in somebody’s shoes in the future.“