BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The prime minister of the Republic of Estonia, Jüri Ratas, will visit Indiana University and deliver a public address next week.
Ratas will speak at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, in the Global and International Studies Building's auditorium as a guest of the IU School of Global and International Studies and its Department of Central Eurasian Studies. The prime minister will speak about his country and its domestic and foreign policy as it approaches the 100th anniversary of its founding.
Estonia gained independence from the Russian Empire in 1918. The Soviet Union annexed Estonia during World War II, but this was never recognized by the United States and other Western states. However, the country regained its independence in 1991 as the USSR collapsed. Estonia currently also plays a key role as holder of the presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second half of 2017.
Ratas was named prime minister by Estonia's president in November 2016. He is the leader of the Center Party, which came to power when he was elevated to prime minister. Previously, he was the vice speaker of the Riigikogu, the Estonian parliament, as well as mayor of the capital city of Tallinn.
His country is considered a key Baltic state, being both a member of the European Union and NATO. The nation borders Russia, and NATO troops were deployed there earlier this year as a move to discourage potential Russian aggression. Ratas met with Vice President Mike Pence three weeks ago in Tallinn, where the vice president thanked Ratas for enhancing EU-NATO cooperation and for Estonia's contribution to international security.
The prime minister's talk is free and open to the public, and he will respond to questions afterward. A reception will follow.