Important names in Estonian culture: journalist Priit Vesilind

Priit Vesilind was born in Tallinn, Estonia, on January 4, 1943, and emigrated to the United States when he was six years old. He has a bachelor of arts degree in English from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, and a master’s in photography from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications.

Vesilind family had lived under Nazi rule in Estonia in the early part of World War II, then fled to Poland with baby Priit and his older brother, Arne, to escape the Soviet onslaught. They ended up in the U.S.-occupied part of Germany, living in one room of a German apartment house for four years, waiting for a chance to resettle somewhere (Source).

He served on active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Navy, and he is the recipient of the Third Order of the White Cross from the government of Estonia for his professional contributions to Estonian independence.

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Vesilind started in journalism as a sports reporter and outdoor editor for the Atlanta Journal and has worked for the Syracuse Herald as well as the Providence Journal as writer, editor, and photographer.

He joined the staff of National Geographic in 1973 as a writer of photographic legends and rose to become Senior Writer and Senior Assistant Editor for Adventure and Expeditions. He has written close to 40 articles for National Geographic and photographed one. He saw assignments in Greenland, the aboriginal lands in Australia, the Himalayan foothills of Nepal and in a 4.5-mile descent into a Pacific trench in a Russian submersible in search of a sunken Japanese submarine. He wrote about Zulus in Kenya, Inuit in Alaska, Tahitian boatmen, Amazonian tribes.

Video: Interview with Priit Vesilind. Don`t know the channel.

And he had an opportunity to retrace his own life cycle, slipping behind the Iron curtain to write about his native Estonia under Soviet control and covering that world’s escape to freedom as the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

Now a freelance writer, Vesilind lives with his wife in Manassas, Virginia. In 2004, Estonian President Arnold Rüütel presented Vesilind with the Order of the White Star, Third Class. (Source of the article).


Related information about Priit Vesilind: in Pittsburgh Gazette. – Press release on his new book “The Lost Gold of The Republic”.


1 Response to “Important names in Estonian culture: journalist Priit Vesilind”

  1. 1 Hilja Martinez August 24, 2009 at 8:05 PM

    Priit Vesilind’s article’s in National Geographic have been well written and informative. The one on Estonia was the first I had read that was truthful about the history, and then I saw it was written by an Estonian! I saved it until it got lost in one too many moves.

    All the while that Balts here in the USA were peacefully demonstrating against Soviet occupation of our nations, our remaining family members who weren’t shot or sent to Siberia were existing under most difficult conditions that our children can’t believe.

    We now own a copy of the movie “The Singing Revolution.” It makes me cry, it makes me proud to be an Estonian. And we cannot stop from singing!

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