Toomas Paul received the University of Tartu Contribution to Estonian National Identity award
On 1 December, at the ceremony to mark the 95th anniversary of Estonia’s national university, the University of Tartu Contribution to Estonian National Identity award was given to the cleric, translator, writer and social figure Toomas Paul.
“Toomas Paul has been actively forming the Estonian thought. In his writings and research, he intertwines the Christian worldview, the Estonian national thought and research. The University of Tartu Contribution to Estonian National Identity award aims to acknowledge people who in their creative pursuits have shown outstanding achievements in promoting the national and state identity of Estonians and Estonia. It unites the university and the awarded people in the pattern of the symbolic core values of our culture,” said member of the university senate, Research Fellow in Religion Studies Ain Riistan on behalf of the university.
Toomas Paul’s role as the leader of the Estonian social thought is awe-inspiring. “His work has not been limited to the religious world, but has been dedicated to the spiritual growth of the Estonian society in a broader sense. By his work and example, Toomas Paul has helped to direct Estonians’ spiritual self-perception. His observations speak to all of us, offering us support for being a human and a member of the society,” said Riistan when handing over the award.
Rector Professor Volli Kalm added that the university has a great pleasure and honour to rely on the help of outstanding teachers of the society from outside the university family when working towards completing its mission. “The laureate of this year’s Contribution to Estonian National Identity award is a pillar of the Estonian society, the keeper of its core values and the leader of social thought. On behalf of the national university, I thank Professor Toomas Paul for the work he has done for Estonia,” said the rector in his appreciation speech.
Toomas Paul was born on 29 October 1939. He has worked as a cleric at the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church since 1960, having also held several managerial positions. He is currently pastor emeritus of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church. He has taught at various institutions and universities since 1974.
The laureate is known for his far-reaching social activities. He is very active in journalism, including radio and television, and in various organisations, such as the Estonian Society for Nature Conservation, the Mother Tongue Society, the Uku Masing Council, the editorial board of the Estonian culture newspaper Sirp as well as the Advisory Board of the Estonian Police and the think tank of the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces.
The work of the laureate has received various awards in the past. The most recent ones include the Estonian Order of Merit of the Estonian Red Cross, First Class (2004); the letter of appreciation and award from the Estonian Ministry of Culture for the interpretation of Chistian values, culture and societal life (2009); Aadu Luukas mission award (2011) and Enn Soosaar Ethical Essayists Award (2013).
This was the 11th time the University of Tartu Contribution to Estonian National Identity award was given. It aims to acknowledge people who in their creative pursuits have shown outstanding achievements in promoting the national and state identity of Estonians and Estonia. The laureate receives 50 volumes of the series “Eesti mõttelugu” (The History of Estonian Thought) published by the Ilmamaa publishing house and a glass sculpture by the glass artist Toomas Riisalu.
The names of people who have been given the award in the past ten years are available on the web page of the University of Tartu.