This year’s Opinion Festival received submissions for over 200 discussions, with topics ranging from human capital and medicine to innovation and forestry. Ideas related to values, education and youth issues formed the largest category.

According to the Festival’s head organizer Maiu Lauring, the submissions help map the topics that are currently important to people living in Estonia and point to the questions that call for more social debate. “As with previous years, the Festival will explore a broad array of topics — submissions included ideas for discussions on education, the environment, economy, innovation, medicine, foreign policy as well as culture. Meanwhile, human capital and forests stood out as specific areas of concern,” said Maiu Lauring.

This year, in addition to ideas for individual discussions, the Festival also welcomed submissions for themed discussion areas. “Our aim was to inspire discussion hosts to start thinking about collaboration from the moment they start developing ideas so they’d have more time and energy to get the discussions themselves ready. This approach seems to have worked – there were 15 submissions for themed discussion areas, most of which are likely to end up in the final programme,” explained Lauring.

The idea evaluation team will consider each submission based on four criteria: stated objective for the discussion, clarity of the topic, diversity of participants, and discussion format. This year’s evaluation process will also involve delegates from the Estonia 100 Youth Assembly, which will help to ensure that the festival programme also includes the topics most relevant to young people.

Discussions will be selected at the beginning of March. The final programme will come together as a result of collaboration between a number of organizations acting as discussion hosts, and will be confirmed by early June.

The sixth Opinion Festival will take place on 10-11 August in Paide. Last year’s Festival attracted over 9,000 participants.

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