“You have been noticed, your work is valued, the people of Estonia love you and I now have the honour of thanking you on behalf of the state of Estonia,” said Prime Minister Ansip. “I would like to thank each and every one of you, both as the prime minister and as a fellow citizen. Many of you have amazed me and thousands of our compatriots with your achievements and creations over the years.”
The head of the national science awards committee, president of the Academy of Sciences and academician Richard Villems introduced the choices of the committee. National science awards valued at 40,000 euros were presented to Maie Kalda and Enn Mellikov for their long and successful research and development work.
Professor of semiconducting materials technology at Tallinn University of Technology Enn Mellikov thanked the Estonian people and government for this recognition. “A person is long since wise and respectable at the age of 95, but for a state, this is a time of growth,” he said. In the professor’s words, following the path of knowledge is Estonia’s only option, as it creates the basis for future development. “Modern science is very expensive, so it needs the support of the people and the government,” he said, adding that the country’s scientists would keep making Estonia proud.
The national science awards of 20,000 euros for best completed and published research of the last four years were presented to Mikhail Brik, Jaanus Remme, Tarmo Soomere, Jaan Eha & Mihkel Zilmer, Peeter Hõrak, Veiko Uri, Rainer Kattel and Andres Tvaur.
Minister of Education and Research Jaak Aaviksoo said that issuing the language award was important to Estonia. “Language is part of our identity – our preservation depends largely on our native language,” he said, adding that Valve-Liivi Kingisepp had almost no competitors for the award.
She won the award for her long and professional commitment to studying the old Estonian literary standard, her organisational efforts in researching and practising Estonian in many fields and for her work as a lecturer, which is a testimony to her love for her native language and allows her to inspire others. The award is valued at 32,000 euros.
“Let’s look after each other – the old after the young, the young after the old – and let’s protect our free state and our unique language,” she said. Kingisepp has been on the board of the Mother Tongue Society for 19 years and has been an honorary member of the society since 2011.
Minister of Culture Rein Lang said that the Estonia should show more recognition to its people, because praise is an excellent motivator. The state traditionally recognises its outstanding citizens on Independence Day. The 40,000 euro lifetime achievement awards in sports were presented to Mait Arvisto for his long and successful work as a sports teacher, sociologist and researcher, and Priit Tomson for his achievements in basketball.
The awards for achievements in 2012 were presented to Heiki Nabi, Gerd Kanter, Andrei Jämsä, Tõnu Endrekson, Allar Raja and Kaspar Taimsoo, Matti Killing, Kaia Kanepi and Rasmus Mägi. The awards are valued at 9,600 euros.
Matti Killing said in his acceptance speech that people have to dream big, because it is the only way for dreams to come true. He added that our small country and people are well-known in the world of sports owing to the support of their state and sponsors.
The cultural awards for long and outstanding creative activities were presented to Eri Klas, Kaarin Raid and Tõnis Vint. The awards are valued at 64,000 euros.
Eri Klas expressed his gratitude for the recognition and said that receiving a lifetime achievement award is borderline – is this the end? The laureate confirmed that he still has enough curiosity and things to do, and he certainly plans to share this with his people.
The cultural awards for creative achievements in 2012 were presented to Vladimir Anšon, Eha Komissarov, Jaak Lõhmus, Jaan-Eik Tulve, Katrin Koov, Indrek Peil, Siiri Vallner and Hannes Praks. The awards are valued at 9,600 euros.