Kite Flight 2018 “How do we persist?”

On 4 April, at the annual Employers’ Confederation conference Kite Flight 2018, we will be searching for answers together with Estonia’s leading entrepreneurs, public figures and politicians.

  • From the perspectives of language and culture, political scientist Rein Taagepera will consider the seriousness of the situation.
  • Demographer Tiit Tammaru will draw conclusions and predict the future, based on the Estonian Human Development Report.
  • Tarmo Soomere, President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, will take into consideration changes in nature, events from which we have no escape.
  • Martin Noorkõiv, the young and energetic civic activist will speak about how Estonia is like for the young people today and how he sees his life in Estonia.
  • Female Estonian politicians will deliberate on possible solutions for our population problem, through their discussions, set out a series of solutions that would help our country endure.

[wptab name=’Registration’]

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Terms of participation

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[wptab name=’Check out the full programme’]


9:00–9:30 registration and welcome coffee

09:30-11:00 Session I “Warm-up before turning up the heat”
“Before beating yourself with a sauna whisk, it should be kept in hot water and then heated on the stove to soften the leaves.”

  • Greeting from the President of the Estonian Employers’ Confederation, Tiit Kuuli
  • Rein Taagepera, political scientist, A Cloud Above Estonia
  • Tiit Tammaru, Editor-in-Chief for the Estonian Human Development Report Estonia in the Migration Era

11:00-11:30 Coffee break

11:30-13:00 Session II “Throw the water!”

‘The water is thrown with a bucket, and it is said: ‘May the wolf eat you.’ This refers to the hobgoblin that is warming himself on the hot stones – he is the one that is doused with the cold water.’

  • Tarmo Soomere, President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences
  • Ave Lauren, coordinator of the Estonian contact point for the European migration network
  • Raul Eamets, Economist
  • Kristjan Lepik, Head of Partnerships at Teleport

13:00-14:00 Lunch break

14:00-15:45 Session III Let’s beat ourselves! Bitter out, sweet in!

‘Tradition says that the process of beating yourself with a sauna whisk should begin with the feet, or even under the feet – this is best for the health. Only after the feet have been beaten, can you continue with the rest of the body.

  • Martin Noorkõiv, CEO of the Foundation for Science and Liberal Arts Domus Dorpatensis
  • Katja Danilova, Communications Leader of the Opinion Festival (Arvamusfestival)

Panel discussion:

  • Viktoria Ladõnskaja, Pro Patria and Res Publica Union
  • Siret Kotka-Repinski, Estonian Centre Party
  • Helmen Kütt, Estonian Social Democratic Party
  • Yoko Alender, Estonian Reform Party

Toomas Tamsar, Chairman of the Estonian Employers’ Confederation: Recap of the day


[wptab name=’Introduction’]

Estonia is a windward land where a corner of it is land meets the Baltic sea. During the Soviet era, a weatherman once said that we should never expect anything good from the East. But has the West brought us only favourable winds? Like a kite, Estonia is moved by the wind arriving from different directions. During spells of favourable wind, we must lift ourselves up with our best skills while gripping to the rope tight and maintaining our sense of direction. When the winds are weak, we need foresight and innovation) to sustain our elevation and stay afloat. One hundred years of independence and proudly flying our kite, we must have the optimal experiences to help us soar and keep upright. But has it? An aging population, a shortage of labour, politicians squandering money and resources of the next generation while making promises like drunk village chaps to buy everyone a round. If we continue in this manner, we will surely lose the favourable tailwind that has carried us to where we currently are.

This time, Kite Flight 2018 is focusing on the topics of how our population can endure. The title of the conference – How Do We Persist? – is based on the greatest problem facing Estonia today: a declining population and the resulting problems. Demographers estimate that the one-way population trend – a steady decrease in the number of people – will continue in Estonia. If we do not act right now and decisively, there shall be only about 800,000 Estonians in the year 2100. By 2025, there will be 45,000 fewer working people in Estonia.

This year, Kite Flight 2018 is focusing on the topics on how our population can endure. The title of the conference “How Do We Persist?” is based on the greatest problem facing Estonia today: a declining population. Demographers have estimated that the one-way population trend – a steady decrease in the number of people – will continue in Estonia, with 45 000 less working individuals by 2025 and a population size of 800 000 Estonians by 2100.

Our goal for this conference is to define who ‘we’ are and what ‘endure’ means for us. Do we understand these issues similarly or can we identify different opportunities? How should we ‘endure’? What will Estonia be if there are only 800 000 of us left? If this is a major crisis, how shall we face it? Although Kite Flight 2018 is a conference for employers, we intend to map and see the broader picture for our future. We will discuss all this in the form of a joint sauna visit. “The sauna is the poor man’s doctor,” as the proverb states. People were born in the sauna and from the sauna their final journeys began. In the sauna, we shall turn the heat up talk about things in all honesty.

First, we shall warm up our bodies: The first part of the conference will focus on raising awareness about the problem. How hot is this topic in reality? “Shall we endure or disappear?” as black clouds are gathering above us? Then it is time for some heat: “Throw some water on the hots rocks!” We want to understand what lies ahead in the world. In the second part, we will time travel to the future and view possible scenarios: what will Estonia look like in 20, 50 or 100 years and what are the demographic trends in the world?

Once the body is warm, it is time to gently beat yourself and to do so properly. So, in the third and last part, we shall look for solutions or a magic sauna whisk through the discussion: ‘Women talking in the sauna.’ Which measures should be implemented and in what proportion? Should they all be applied or is only one enough? What happens if we do not make these choices today?



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