World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples
"Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, will host the Fourth World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples from 15-19 August 2004. The theme of the congress is "The Youth Is Our Future" and it will bring together approximately seven hundred delegates, observers and guests from Russia, Scandinavia, and Central and Eastern Europe. The Congress aims at developing and protecting the ethnic identities, cultures and languages of the Finno-Ugric peoples; promoting the co-operation between Finno-Ugric peoples; discussing and finding solutions to their most urgent problems; and promoting the implementation of their right to self-determination in accordance with the norms and principles of the international law."
This Congress is convened every fourth year. Previously it was held in 1992 in Syktyvkar (Komi Republic, Russia), in 1996 in Budapest (Hungary), and in 2000 in Helsinki (Finland). This event is currently underway with Finnish President Ms. Tarja Halonen attending along with other heads of states, guests from UNESCO, ECOSOC, the European Council, the Nordic Council of Ministers and so on.
This is interesting news for my Finnish, Estonian and possibly Russian readers, and anyone interested in linguistics and ethnology, and for me in that I did not know such important and extensive meetings have been and are taking place.
Some related links:
A chart of Uralic languages showing the numbers of speakers, note how many are endangered.
More about Finno-Ugric people especially of Russia.
UPDATE Sept.13.04: Speech by President of Finland Tarja Halonen - This is excellent - well worth reading!