Non-Profit Organisation Fenno-Ugria is an umbrella organisation dedicated to cooperation with Estonians’ kindred peoples – Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic peoples. Fenno-Ugria was established in 1927 and re-established in 1991.
Fenno-Ugria is a competence centre that develops contacts between kindred Finno-Ugric peoples, supports the promotion of culture, education and science of Finno-Ugric peoples, contributes to the development of Finno-Ugric studies in Estonia, raises awareness of kindred peoples’ cultures and ecological worldviews, develops communication between Finno-Ugric peoples and supports their exchanges with the wider world.
Fenno-Ugria disseminates diverse information about Finno-Ugric peoples, participates in the promotion of Finno-Ugric research and initiates educational and cultural projects concerning Finno-Ugric peoples. Fenno-Ugria often takes the role of an initiator and advisor while implementing its ideas with the help of an extensive partner network.
Every year in October, Fenno-Ugria organizes Finno-Ugrian Days which have evolved into an all-Estonian cultural festival attracting performers from Russia’s Finno-Ugric regions, Finland and Hungary. Apart from concerts, the festival hosts literary evenings and film days. During the festival week, many schools and cultural centres across Estonia organise their own Finno-Ugric events. On the initiative of Fenno-Ugria, Estonian Parliament Riigikogu in 2011 proclaimed the Kindred Peoples’ Day – the 3rd Saturday of October – as a national flag day.
Fenno-Ugria also organises several smaller-scale events for specialised audiences. The most significant of them is the Finno-Ugric Club which has been operating since 2001 and which hosts lectures about Finno-Ugric peoples by scholars and public figures, tailored to general audiences. Throughout the year, Fenno-Ugria organises concerts, film screenings and exhibitions to raise awareness of, and interest in Finno-Ugric peoples and to celebrate their national days.
On Fenno-Ugria’s initiative, more than 200 Finno-Ugric students from Russia (undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral) have studied in Estonia since 1991. We have also facilitated the invitation of lecturers of Finno-Ugric languages and history to teach at the University of Tartu and Tallinn University, and have helped dispatch lecturers of Estonian language and literature to universities across the Finno-Ugric world.
In the mid-1990s, Fenno-Ugria contributed to the establishment of cooperation agreements for promoting educational and cultural contacts between the Republic of Estonia and the Komi Republic, the Mari El Republic and the Udmurt Republic (Russian Federation). Fenno-Ugria continues to facilitate visits by the Estonian creative community to Russia’s Finno-Ugric regions. Fenno-Ugria also helps to host Finno-Ugric guests in Estonia.
Since 2012, Fenno-Ugria publishes its yearbook Soome-ugri sõlmed (Finno-Ugric Knots). Since 1997, Fenno-Ugria publishes a traditional Finno-Ugric peoples’ calendar. Fenno-Ugria has also issued other publications, including the “Dictionary of Uralic Languages” (2004, 2011). In 2010, Fenno-Ugria initiated with 5 partners the creation of a Finno-Ugric information portal with the support of Nordplus educational programme.
Fenno-Ugria has closely collaborated with cultural associations of Finno-Ugric peoples living in Estonia. We have helped establish the Estonian Mordvin Cultural Association and Udmurt Association “Osmesh”. Together we celebrate Finno-Ugric national days, including the day of the Erzya language and the Mari Hero’s day. Associations in turn support Fenno-Ugria in organising larger events such as the Finno-Ugric days.
Taking the example of Finland, Fenno-Ugria initiated the Kindred Peoples’ Programme in 1998. This programme helps fund postgraduate and doctoral studies of Finno-Ugric students, implement various Finno-Ugric events, publish books in Finno-Ugric languages and support travels to international Finno-Ugric events. The programme also confers an annual literary award and Ilmapuu (World Tree) award for community-based initiatives.