The topic of this year’s NBRC is “Borders in Our Lives – Connecting or Separating?”
So, we are talking about borders. Borders, lines, boundaries, barriers. They are everywhere – some are rarely seen, some are met every day. They affect our everyday lives and decisions, they cause debates and even conflicts. We find that we as geographers have a very broad reach regarding this field.
Political borders are created by humans. First thought may be that they are the results of wars and treaties. Looking at different borders, we see that often they coincide with natural boundaries: rivers, lakes and mountain chains. Looking back to history, we notice that massive forest areas, wetlands and mountain ranges have been barriers to communication. Therefore language dialects and different nations have evolved close to each other physically but far from mentally.
Today, borders are very controversial. On one hand, we are creating new barriers which limit us and our freedom to travel or act as we would like. On the other hand, we sign new agreements to simplify cross-border activities. Totally other field incorporates modern technology which allows us to broaden the everyday world we live in. Working abroad is easier than ever because you can communicate with your dear ones at home (yes, Skype was founded by Estonians) and collaboration projects are more effective and faster. International migration raises again a question of nationality and cultural differences.
We believe that Estonia is a perfect place for this topic. Estonia has experienced different boundaries throughout its history and is known to exist somewhere in between of east and west, but where exactly… do you actually know?
“Man made borders not to limit himself, but to have something to cross.” – anonymous