Trivimi Velliste

Past Global Perspectives Guest Speaker

Trivimi Velliste is a current member of Estonia’s parliament and was a leading force behind the peaceful liberation of the Baltic States. A former journalist and publisher, he was a leader in the Singing Revolution, where Estonians gathered in large groups in open defiance of Russian laws to sing patriotic songs. He led the struggle for independence at great personal risk.

In opposition to Soviet rule, Velliste founded the Estonian Heritage Society in 1987.  The Estonian Heritage Society served to politically mobilize national sentiments, encourage the public celebration of national anniversaries, and strengthen religious movements.  Its work was important in the pro-independence movement, leading to the disintegration of the Estonian communist party in 1990.

Velliste served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 1994 and as the Estonian Ambassador to the United Nations from 1994 to 1998.  He has twice received the Rafto Prize for Human Rights.

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