Seminar "Where do we go from here?": Has Estonia Completed its Transition from Soviet to West? 15.10.2009


The second discussion in this seminar series gave us a chance to take a closer look at the concept of „transition”. It is a word that was much used back in the 1990’s, as Estonia cast off its Soviet era institutional array and moved to integrate into Europe. Now Estonia is a member of the European Union, NATO, and WTO. So, is the transition over?


To answer this, we asked what goals transition was meant to achieve. Was it just membership in a new multinational network? I argued that our transition should lead Estonia to realize its goals of (1) bringing prosperity, (2) protecting our identity, and (3) achieving security. But how would we measure success then? I argued that we can see patterns of success emerge in our community relationships. How often do these achieve our larger goals? Or do we rely just on the heroic efforts of individuals?


We discussed this in light of whether our renewed liberty is building an Estonian success story. In this we addressed the following questions


  1. Where do ideas come from?
  2. Is poverty an opportunity?
  3. What are Estonian strengths and weaknesses
  4. Why is institutional failure so common?
  5. Is aggregation different than curation?
  6. Has Estonia completed its transition?
  7. Is there such a thing as a „rights based” community?
  8. How does one build community?
  9. What skills do we need to become a leader?
  10. What type of education builds leadership?


At the end of this, we watched a short TED video of Bill Strickland talking about how he has worked to empower communities within urban environments that people had given up on.