Michael has been involved with the Estonian community in Sydney since 1974, and in Melbourne since 1983.
At present Michael is the Principal Biosafety Technical Consultant for Merck kGaA, having worked for Merck and its subsidiaries for 40 years in a variety of management and virtual team-based positions in Australia and in the US. During this time he has worked with colleagues and companies throughout Asia, in the Americas and in a number of countries in Europe and so has a good appreciation for both cultural and regional communication and negotiation.
Michael is married to an Australian – Estonian (Sirje Kivivali) and has two daughters (Aleksis and Isabel) who have attended many Estonian events in Australia, America and in also Estonia. Both daughters are also active in Melbourne Estonian folk dancing groups, as dancers and in Aleksis’ case as an organiser.
Having been associated with Australian Estonians for over 45 years, Michael is very aware of the value of cultural diversity and its integral part in the multicultural make-up of Australian society. The changing nature of Australian society and of the Melbourne Estonian groups in that society may also require a change in Melbourne Estonian house’s facilities in the future.
To that end, Michael feels that the next phase in the use, profile and involvement of Eesti Maja should be to serve current needs but also to provide a firm foundation for the continuation and well-being of the Estonian community in Melbourne in whichever direction they decide to go.