Toomas Hendrik Ilves

 

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Born on December 26, 1953 in Stockholm, Kingdom of Sweden
Married to Evelin Ilves
Children: son Luukas Kristjan (1987), daughters Juulia (1992) and Kadri Keiu (2003)

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Biography

Toomas Hendrik Ilves was born on December 26, 1953, to an Estonian family living in Stockholm, Sweden. He acquired his education in the United States – he graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 1976 and received his Master's degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978.

1984 he moved to Europe, to work at the office of Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany, first as a researcher and foreign policy analyst and later as the Head of the Estonian Desk.

From 1993 to 1996 Toomas Hendrik Ilves served in Washington as the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America and Canada. During this time he initiated with education minister Jaak Aaviksoo the Tiger Leap initiative to computerize and connect all Estonian schools online. From 1996 to 1998, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. After a brief period as Chairman of the North Atlantic Institute in 1998, he was again appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, serving until 2002.

From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Ilves was a Member of the Estonian Parliament; in 2004 he was elected a Member of the European Parliament, where he was vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee. As a MEP, he initiated the Baltic Sea Strategy that later was implemented as official regional policy of the European Union.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves was elected President of the Republic of Estonia in 2006. Ilves was re-elected for a second term in office in 2011.

During his presidency Toomas Hendrik Ilves has been appointed to serve in several high positions in the field of ICT in the European Union. He served as Chairman of the EU Task Force on eHealth from 2011 to 2012. From 2012 to 2014, at the invitation of the European Commission, he was Chairman of the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board. His interest in computers stems from an early age – he learned to program at the age of 13, and he has been promoting Estonia's IT-development since the country restored its independence. During recent years, president Ilves has spoken and written extensively at integration, trans-atlantic relations, e-government, cyber security and other related topics.

President Ilves has published many essays and articles in Estonian and English on numerous topics ranging from Estonian language, history and literature to global foreign and security policy and cyber security. His books include essay collections in Estonian, Finnish, Latvian Hungarian and Russian.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves is married and has three children, a son and two daughters.


Career and public service

2006- President of the Republic of Estonia
2004-2006 Member of the European Parliament
2002-2004 Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Estonia
1999-2002 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Estonia
1998 Chairman, North Atlantic Institute
1996-1998 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Estonia
1993-1996 Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico
1988-1993 Head of the Estonian desk, Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany
1984-1988 Analyst and researcher for the research unit of Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany
1983-1984 Lecturer in Estonian Literature and Linguistics, Simon Fraser University, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Vancouver, Canada
1981-1983 Director and Administrator of Art, Vancouver Arts Center, Canada
1979-1981 Assistant Director and English teacher, Open Education Center, Englewood, New Jersey, USA
1974-1979 Research Assistant, Columbia University department of Psychology, USA


Publications

Compilation of speeches and writings from 1986-2006: "Eesti jõudmine. Kõned ja kirjutised aastaist 1986-2006" ("Estonia's growth. Speeches and publications from 1986-2006"). Varrak, 2006 Tallinn.
"A nagy európai fal?". Berzsenyi Dániel Föiskola, Uralisztikai Tanszéke, 2007 Szombathely
"Atvērtā pasaule un nacionālās vērtības : runas, raksti, viedokļi". Lauku Avīze, 2010 Rīgā
"Omalla äänellä" ("Sõna jõuga"). WSOY, 2011 Helsinki
"Suurem Eesti. Valik presidendikõnesid ja –kirjutisi 2006-2011" ("Greater Estonia. A Selection of the President's Speeches and Essays from 2006-2011"). Varrak, 2011 Tallinn
"Omal häälel" ("In Our Own Voice"). Tänapäev, 2012 Tallinn
"Говорит глава государства" ("The Head of State Speaking"). Estonian Cooperation Assembly, 2014 Tallinn
Articles in Estonian and other newspapers and magazines.


Involvement in Civic Groups

Member of the Estonian Students Society (Eesti Üliõpilaste Selts) 1995
Member of the Trilateral Commission 2004-2006
Member of the Board of Trustees of think-tank Friends of Europe 2005
Founder of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (Eesti Välispoliitika Instituut), Member of the Executive Committee until 2002
Honorary Member of the Latvian Students Society "Austrums"
Member of the Board, Viljandi County Municipal Fund
Board of Trustees, Estonian Academy of Arts 2004-2006
President of the Estonian Special Olympics 1997-2004
Member of the Board of Trustees of Tartu University 1996-2003
European Movement Estonia (EME) Member of the Board, Founding Member 1999-2004
Honorary Member of the Estonian Society in Belgium 2006


Decorations

1999 Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit
1999 Grand Cross of the Order of Honour of Greece
2001 Grand Commandeur Legion d'Honneur of the Republic of France
2004 The Order of the National Coat of Arms third Class (Estonia)
2004 Three Star Order of the Republic of Latvia
2006 The Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Estonia)
2006 The Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath of Great Britain
2007 Order of the White Rose of Finland
2007 The Golden Fleece Order of Georgia
2007 Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum of Japan
2007 The Order of Isabel the Catholic with the collar of Spain
2008 The Collar of the The Order of the National Coat of Arms (Estonia)
2008 The Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain of Lithuania
2008 Grand Cross in the Order of the Netherlands Lion
2008 Grand Cordon Leopold of Belgium
2009 Chain of the Three Star Order of the Republic of Latvia
2009 The Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary
2010 The Order of St. George of Georgia
2011 National Order Star of Romania in rank of Collar
2011 "Dostyk" (Friendship) the Star of Award I of Kazakhstan
2012 The Grand Collar of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Malta
2012 The Cross of Recognition of Latvia, I class
2013 Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
2014 Order of the White Eagle of the Republic of Poland


Foreign languages

English, German, Spanish