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Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom

H.E. Tunne Kelam

His Excellency Tunne Kelam is an Estonian politician and Member of the European Parliament. In 1972, Kelam prepared a memorandum to the UN on behalf of two underground citizens’ groups which asked for assistance to end Soviet occupation and organize free elections. Despite strict KGB surveillance, Kelam continued to organize unofficial opposition groups and pass information to the West about human rights violations in Estonia. In August 1988, he became a founding member of the Estonian National Independence Party, the first non-communist political party within the territory of the Soviet Union. In 1989, he emerged as a leader of the Estonian Citizens’ Committees movement and two years later was instrumental in achieving a national understanding with Soviet Estonia’s Supreme Council on the principles of restoring Estonian statehood. Kelam was a member of the Constitutional Assembly and was elected to the first constitutional Parliament, the Riigikogu, where he served for 12 years. Kelam represented Estonia in the Convention on the Future of Europe, and he was elected to the European Parliament three times.