Class of 1992
I attended the Estonian School of Diplomacy from 1991 to 1992, after being invited to join the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Given that my education up to that point was in law, I did not have any theoretical or practical training in diplomacy or foreign relations. (As we had just restored our independence, the same could be said about almost all the young people who joined the foreign service at the beginning of the 1990s.) Therefore it was important to get some training–and attending the ESD was for me a logical step. As the School had only recently begun operation, many lecturers came from the MFA–in particular, I remember Enn Liimets, then Deputy Foreign Minister. The ESD programme was a good introduction to diplomacy, consular affairs, and the history of Estonian diplomacy. While I later had several opportunities to continue my studies in international relations, including at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, ESD will always represent my first step in that direction.
Class: 2006/2007 study group
The choice to study at the Estonian School of Diplomacy was a natural one for me, as I had a strong will to learn about diplomacy and European integration in a country similar in size, population, and recent history to Moldova–and one that achieved great social and economic success, while gaining membership in the EU & NATO, in such a short period of time. Even today, I am confident that for us, Estonia is the best example to follow.
My experience at ESD was notably valuable to me when I returned as my country’s Ambassador just three years after graduation. Having a solid grasp of Estonian realities and a wide, well-established network of contacts and friends made my job much easier–adn more effective. My most vivid memories of the ESD are associated with with my colleagues and our teachers, our feeling of all being on ”one team”, our study trips to Brussels, Stockholm and Helsinki, and countless visits throughout Estonia–especially the opportunity to discover the country’s amazing natural landscapes. I am very grateful to ESD for this enjoyable and valuable year in Tallinn!
Class: 2015/2016 study group
As a diplomat at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when I came to know about ESD’s diploma programme in IR & European Integration, I was immediately excited–not only was this a field I wanted to study further, but also Estonia was a country I was eager to explore and experience. And the ESD experience lived up to my expectations. Since it is more than just an academic programme, I learned so much in many ways, from classes in practical diplomacy and international organizations, to seminars at which I made presentations, conferences and talks I attended, to field visits to European and Estonian institutions as well as embassies. The programme’s approach ensured broader learning than what one would obtain through classroom work alone. Moreover, it provided me with many skills and techniques that are of daily use to me in my current work as deputy chief of mission at the Egyptian Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
My most vivid memories of ESD are without doubt the friendships I made, the beautiful cities of Estonia I visited, and above all–snow, snow, snow! Tallinn is a fairytale city in winter!
Class: 1993/1994 study group
I obtained my first university degree in Hungarian language and literature, and have also studied comparative linguistics of the Finno-Ugric languages. However, I’ve always been fascinated by politics–in particular, international politics–and I was hungry to know more about the nuanced world of diplomacy. As I was in good and frequent contact with the Hungarian Embassy in Helsinki at a time, I was especially intellectually curious to know more about how foreign policy is actually being made. I particularly liked how things were organized in the world of international relations, and about the written and unwritten rules in communication between countries.
I found the education and knowledge I gained at ESD especially useful after I was named Honorary Consul of Hungary in Estonia. Since then, I’ve appreciated the ESD experience while communicating professionally with a great number of foreign organizations.
I enjoyed the good level of teaching, the varied lecturers and guest speakers, and the passionate interest in foreign policy, shared by all my coursemates and the contacts I’m lucky to have kept in touch with ever since.