Kristi Vinter-Nemvalts, the Secretary General of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, took part in a working visit to Eastern Ukraine from 3-6 October in which she and her counterparts from seven other ministries, along with the Secretary of State and the Estonian ambassador to Ukraine, observed the local situation. Together they expressed Estonia’s continued support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and its non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea.
As part of her visit, the Secretary General met with Deputy Minister of the Youth and Sports Social Working Group of Ukraine Maryna Popatenko, First Deputy Minister of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education Andry Vitrenko and UNICEF Ukraine representative Michaela Bauer. The Ukrainian and Estonian representatives acknowledged that their countries have common interests and are facing similar issues at present, allowing for meaningful cooperation.
“People in Ukraine are very interested in sharing experience and look forward to consultations and meetings on mutual cooperation in Estonia and Ukraine,” Secretary General Vinter-Nemvalts said. “Estonia can be a partner to Ukraine in the digital, inclusive education and blended learning fields, explaining the reasons behind our success in the PISA evaluations and reducing the inequality in education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In her meeting with UNICEF Ukraine representative Michaela Bauer, the Secretary General sought new opportunities for cooperation in the coming years. With Deputy Minister Maryna Popatenko she discussed opportunities to showcase in Ukraine the professional development of and vocational standard for youth workers in Estonia. Ukraine also showed a keen interest in youth exchange programmes with Estonia.
The Estonian delegation also visited the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and met with a number of Ukrainian officials, including the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the governor of Donetsk and the European Union ambassador to Ukraine.
In addition to the Secretary General, the Estonian delegation included Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop, Estonian ambassador to Ukraine Kaimo Kuusk, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jonatan Vseviov, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Kusti Salm, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior Lauri Lugna, Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance Merike Saks, Secretary General of the Ministry of Social Affairs Maarjo Mändmaa, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Ando Leppimann and Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice Tõnis Saar.