National language policy is implemented through different national programmes:

  • the programme of Estonian language terminology supports the development of the professional Estonian language;
  • the programme of Estonian language textbooks for higher education institutions develops the scientific terminology of Estonian language and supports Estonian study and research literature;
  • the programme of the academic studies of Estonian language and culture abroad offers Estonian language studies in more than 30 universities abroad;
  • the Kindred Peoples Programme supports the languages and cultures of Finno-Ugric peoples with no nation-state.

Information about the national programme of Estonian language and cultural memory and Estonian language technology are described in research programmes section


Compatriots’ Programme

Compatriots’ programme aims at supporting the Estonians living abroad, by helping them  preserve their Estonian language skills, maintain Estonian national culture and identity as well as providing assistance to those who are considering returning to Estonia.

The following activities are supported in the framework of the programme:

  • teaching the Estonian language in schools abroad;
  • the studies of young expatriate Estonians in Estonia;
  • activities to preserve the Estonian culture and create a sense of belonging among the Estonians living in foreign countries;
  • collecting, preserving and making available expatriate cultural heritage;
  • encouraging the return of expatriates to Estonia.

The current programme also focuses on recent emigrants and on the descendants of previous generations of expatriates who no longer speak Estonian.

The number of Estonian children living abroad has significantly increased in recent years. Therefore, more support is provided for educational activities, because proficiency in mother tongue is one of the key prerequisites for returning to Estonia, continuing studies in the Estonian educational system and for being actively involved in the Estonian cultural space.


Starting from 2014, the programme is funded from the budgets of the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Culture The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports the programme through its core activities.

The main organisations implementing the programme are the Estonian Institute the National Archives of Estonia Foundation Archimedes and the Integration and Migration Foundation “Our People”

Grants are awarded on the basis of project calls which are usually held once a year. Educational project calls are organised twice a year.

Information about the activities supported, application forms and deadlines are available on the websites of the institutions organising the calls.

Council of the programme

The Council of the Compatriots’ Programme organises and supervises the implementation of the programme.

Members of the Council:

  • Madis Lepajõe - Chairman of the Council, Deputy Secretary General for Youth and Foreign Relations, the Ministry of Education and Research;
  • Anne-Ly Reimaa - Adviser of the Cultural Diversity Department; the Ministry of Culture;
  • Madis Järv - Deputy Head of the International Relations Department, the Ministry of Culture;
  • Jüri Trei - Adviser of the Public Diplomacy Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • Ursula Kaasik - Adviser of the Migration and Border Policy Department, the Ministry of the Interior;
  • Priit Pirsko - State Archivist;
  • Aho Rebas – representative of the Estonian World Council;
  • Piret Kärtner - Head of the Language Policy Department, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research;
  • Andero Adamson - Adviser of the Language Policy Department, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.


Last updated: 16 October 2017