As part of the visit, the ministers presented the annual Languages Award by the Latvian and Estonian Foreign Ministries to Ilze Tālberga, teacher of the Latvian language and culture at Tartu University.
"I am happy that this beautiful tradition has enabled our countries to become even closer and raised our mutual awareness about what is happening in each of our countries," said Rinkēvičs. "The Languages Award has great significance in promoting the literature and academic research in both countries. At the same time, it is an opportunity to appreciate the role of our academic staff and translators in promoting bilateral relations. Therefore, we thank the teachers and linguists in Riga, Tallinn, Tartu and other Latvian and Estonian cities, who enhance our knowledge of one another and attract new talented minds to the Latvian and Estonian languages. We should continue to further inspire our translators, the Latvian language teachers in Estonia and the Estonian Language teachers in Latvia, as well as researchers in the Latvian and Estonian languages for their contribution to promoting the languages."
Ilze Tālberga has been lecturer at Tartu University since 2006 introducing her students to the Latvian language and culture and focusing on research in the Latvian and Estonian languages and preparation of teaching materials. She has produced a textbook, “Latvian language for Estonian students” which is an invaluable support in language learning, given that the first textbook of Latvian was written more than 80 years ago.
In April Tālberga defended her doctoral thesis “On the equivalents to the Latvian language prepositions in the Estonian language” and in 2019, she translated into Estonian a novel by Nora Ikstena, “Soviet Milk” (Mātes piens) plus works by the Estonian poet Margus Konnula (Contra), and a novel by Ieva Melgalve, “A Literary Academy” (Literārā akadēmija).
The Joint Award for the Promotion of Latvian and Estonian Languages was presented for the 11th time. The aim of the Languages Award is to strengthen bilateral cooperation through enhancing the learning and use of the Latvian and Estonian languages, facilitating the work of Latvian-Estonian and Estonian-Latvian translators of literary, political, scientific and other texts and to recognize the achievements of Latvian and Estonian linguists and teachers in the promotion of the Latvian language in Estonia and the Estonian language in Latvia. The Languages Award also contributes to strengthening Latvian and Estonian cultural cooperation and this year it will be awarded for the eleventh time. The monetary value of the prize is 3,000 euros and the Award Fund receives equal contributions from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Estonia.
During the main ministerial meeting, officials discussed bilateral relations between Latvia and Estonia, regional cooperation and developments in Belarus.
Discussing cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that public health was a priority for the European Union. It is vital to find the right balance between public health interests, the recovery of national economies and restoring the integrity of the Schengen Area, the Latvian Foreign Minister noted. The formation of the Baltic Bubble and applying a solution for border cities like Valka and Valga are proof, he said, of our ability to effectively cooperate under complicated conditions at the regional level.
And it seems another award will be soon be up for grabs, too. To promote and highlight the economic achievements of both countries, the ministers committed themselves to working on the establishment of an award for the facilitation of economic cooperation between Latvia and Estonia.