Estonian journalist honored in NYC

  • 2004-03-18
  • By Ann Charles
NEW YORK - The Estonian Foundation for Arts & Letters commemorated the 37lst anniversary of the founding of Tartu University at a special event that took place recently at the New York Estonian House.

Tauri Piilberg, a native of Tartu, was present at this event to be honored and to receive the 2004 "Award for Excellence in Journalism" from the Andres Juriado Baltic Fellowship Fund.
According to Paul E. Luedig, president of the Estonian Foundation for Arts & Letters, in addition to the AJBFF journalism award, there were piano solos by Kristjan Randalu, a brief Estonian film presentation by Jim Trust and a lecture from Janika Kronberg on modern day Estonian literature at the Tartu University commemoration. The event ended with the singing of the Estonian national anthem and a champagne reception at the New York Estonian House under the management of Ell Tabur.
A trip to the city of Tartu was organized by a representative of the fund during a visit to the Baltic Sea Region in the fall of 2003, which included Tartu University. The university's library, in particular, which is the oldest and biggest continuously working library in Estonia, was most impressive, she reported.
February 4, 2004 marked the first anniversary of the death of internationally known journalist, Andres Juriado, for whom the Fund was named by a lifetime friend. Juriado broadcast Estonian radio programs, wrote articles for Baltic publications in both English and Estonian, and made valuable contributions to various Baltic organizations. He also monitored human rights at the United Nations, and other international forums.
Juriado called Tauri Piilberg, "an excellent young journalist," and recognized his "Voice of America" reports and articles in the Estonian press. The Fund was set up to inspire Baltic communicators (journalists, filmmakers, translators, photojournalists, etc.) from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The idea is to report and document their work, and then share it with others. Piilberg received a small grant from the Fund to continue his writing.
The Baltic Fellowship Fund was first announced on the same day as Juriado's funeral services (February 4, 2003) by devoted lifetime friends who wanted to celebrate his life, while mourning the sad circumstances surrounding his death. Linda Pakri, a devoted friend, often shared ideas on Estonian culture with Juriado, and it turned out the Fund was formerly launched at Estonian Cultural Days under the direction of Pakri in April 2003.
In November 2003, it was announced that Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was preparing to cease broadcasting in seven languages, including Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian by December 31, 2003. It was cited that this was due to their joining the European Union and NATO. Many members of Baltic-American organizations such as JBANC and BATUN expressed disappointment in the ending of this highly respected news service in these languages.
Juriado's distinctive voice as an Estonian broadcaster for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was widely recognized both here and abroad.
As one former New Yorker now living in Estonia once put it, "Juriado was a legend." Obviously, this legend is living on.