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The award “Contribution to Estonian National Identity”

With the award “Contribution to Estonian National Identity”, the university recognises an individual whose creative work has significantly promoted the national and state identity of Estonians and Estonia. The award was established in 2004.

Nominations for the award “Contribution to Estonian National Identity” may be made by members of the council and senate of the university, by the councils of faculties, institutes, colleges and non-faculty institutions, by the councils of other research and development institutions and by legal persons registered in Estonia.

The recipient of the award is selected by an eleven-member committee convened by the senate; the committee comprises the rector as chair of the committee, the recipient of the award from the previous year, four members from the university and five members from outside the university. The committee is convened for a term of three years and a recipient of the award becomes member of the committee in the year following the year of his or her selection.

The rector presents the award on 1 December at the ceremony marking the anniversary of Estonian national university.

“Contribution to Estonian National Identity” 2020

Lea Tormis

In 2020, the University of Tartu gave the award “Contribution to Estonian National Identity” to theatre researcher and historian, critic and lecturer Lea Tormis.

“By selecting this year’s recipient, the national university makes itself greater, we are once again widening the scope of national thought, the actual semantic field of this concept,” said Rector Toomas Asser in the video greeting on the anniversary of Estonia’s national university. According to the rector, the people who nominated Lea Tormis for the award have aptly said that her “thread” in the Estonian theatre is very bright: it is the culture of thinking of theatre, of creation, of national culture.

“Contribution to Estonian National Identity” 2019

Hando Runnel

2019. aasta Rahvusmõtte In 2019, the University of Tartu gave the award “Contribution to Estonian National Identity” to Hando Runnel. According to Rector of the University of Tartu Toomas Asser, the decision of the award committee was unanimous. Granting the “Contribution to Estonian National Identity” award to Hando Runnel is a telling summary of the first century of Estonia’s national university. By giving this award, the national university confirms that Estonian people and the Estonian language, culture and thought are free. Hando Runnel by his example and with his special contribution helps us remember that the measure of a nation is its people’s internal dignity and values.”

Kalle Kasemaa

Fred Jüssi

Andres Sööt

Arvo Valton

Toomas Paul

Anu Raud

Arvo Kruusement

Vello Salo

Mats Traat

Ants Viires

Ain Kaalep

Kaljo Põllu

Endel Lippmaa

Veljo Tormis

Ilmar Talve

Tartu Ülikooli üliõpilased Sander Ratso ja Juhan Saharov Foto Aron Urb

Sander Ratso and Juhan Saharov received the main prizes in National Contest for University Students


Annual awards

The University of Tartu gives out annual awards to recognise its members’ outstanding achievements in giving higher education, doing research and serving society to value their vi


Letters of appreciation

The University of Tartu letter of appreciation may be awarded to university members and individuals outside the university who have made a significant contribution to the success of an undertaking