Since winning independence for the second time in a century from a Soviet-Russian power, Estonia has been rapidly transforming and adapting to the modern world. Today the nation boasts the most successful economy of the former Soviet region. In 1994 the last Russian troops departed Estonian soil. In 2004 the country became a member of both NATO and the European Union, and is on track to adopt the Euro in January 2007. Arnold Rüütel played an important role in the preparation and adoption of the Estonian sovereignty declaration in 1988 and gained a world reputation as a defender of Estonia's sovereignty in conflict with the central authorities in Moscow. During the transition years between declaration to peaceful achievement of independence, he served as head of state, playing an important role in uniting the people and political forces in the struggle for a common cause and in drafting the Constitution. Rüütel turned his duties over to Estonia's newly elected President Lennart Meri in October 1992, and reclaimed these duties when elected President in 2001. He comes to The Club just weeks before he is expected to announce re-election plans.
6:00 p.m., Check-in | 6:30 p.m., Program | City Club, 155 Sansome St., San Francisco | Free for Members, $18 for Non-members
Added by suman_ganguli on January 17, 2006