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Freedom Through Democracy, Security, and Unity in Diversity

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In this book President Lennart Meri talks to you about freedom, democracy, and security; about unity and diversity; and education, success, and home. President Meri led Estonia during the post–Cold War period, a very difficult time for Estonia and many other countries in Europe trying to adopt democracy and the market economy.

The choices that the Estonian people made during the early post–Cold War period demonstrate how a nation can peacefully resolve problems, problems that included the potential for interethnic tensions to lead to conflict. After regaining independence in 1991, the people of Estonia restored democratic laws and institutions; reestablished a market economy; and instituted measures that helped many of its noncitizen residents adapt to Estonian independence and participate fully in Estonian society. The Republic of Estonia received international recognition for these and other achievements, including an early invitation to join the European Union.

President Meri’s leadership was key to Estonia’s success, and his thoughts reflect many of the reasons for this success. You can use his thoughts to help solve many problems in the present and the future. As he said, “Human beings live in the name of the future, in the name of a better and happier future for their children and grandchildren.”

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