We’re sitting in the small fireplace hall in Hopner House. Helen, Ozan, Fabio, Katerina and Ekaterina – none of them has ever been here before. The medieval room is impressive. This is the third meeting of the City Centre New Arrivals Council but the first time meeting in real life. This time, the topic is the missioon and identity of the council. It’s not easy to formulate because nothing like this has been done in Estonia before.

 

In November, in the “Tallinn City Centre for Expats” group, we announced the opening of the City Centre New Arrivals Council. The precondition for participating in the competition was a person’s desire to actively participate in the life of the city and district and help other foreigners adapt to their life in Estonia. Each candidate submitted a letter of motivation explaining why they should become a member of the Council. 26 expats sent in their application and 12 of them became members of the Council: Aarthi, Fabio, Ozan, Dashiell, Ekaterina, Helen, Chantel, Sunil, Janne, Yiyang, Leonardo, and Katerina.

Reading motivational letters with colleagues, we were pleasantly surprised to see how many interesting people have come to live in our city. This was confirmed by excerpts from their letters:

  • “I would like to contribute and collaborate with the International community and local government to improve the quality of life and accessibility of services for the English-speaking community. I have experience living in a large city, as I am from Sao Paulo.”
  • “Tallinn and Kesklinn are my home and I’d like to be more involved in what goes on in the district. I also think the international community lacks a voice and I’d like to be part of strengthening it.”
  • “I love Tallinn and I would like to make the city centre as functional as possible. I am very interested in environmental topics and quite experienced in this.”
  • “I love living here in the city centre. For the last 1.5 years, me and my family have been living in the Uus Maailm neighborhood. Though it is a fantastic place, some improvements can be considered to make it better.”

We are very grateful to everyone who submitted their application! Those who were not elected – don’t worry, most of the council meetings are open to everyone and you can also have a say in the life of the city centre and the International community in Tallinn. You can submit your ideas and get answers to questions from the city and state officials who also take part in council meetings (depending on the topic). For example, two weeks ago, specialists from the Transport Department and Tallinn City Centre Government participated in a web meeting on the subject of transport. More events like this are still to come.

As for the identity and mission of the Council, however, these will become clear in the course of the Council’s work in cooperation with the various parties at the city, state, and neighborhood level. We strive to ensure that every resident in Tallinn lives a good and comfortable life in our city!

 

Svetlana Štšur
Project Manager