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The establishment of the Võro Institute was first suggested by the active advocates of the Võro movement, which emerged in the late 1980s. By the mid-1990s it was clear that the movement required state support to be viable and could not be sustained exclusively on a voluntary basis. The Võro Institute was established by the Estonian Government in 1995 as a state research and development agency. Today the Võro Institute is administered by the Estonian Ministry of Culture. Its activities are regulated by The Law on the Regulation of Scientific and Development Activities and its statute. The academic board and its chairperson supervise the projects undertaken by the Institute.

The Võro Institute is run by the Director, who is appointed to a five-year term by the Minister of Culture. In addition to the permanent staff, eight researchers and specialists agree to short-term contracts for more extensive projects.

The Võro Institute is funded from the state budget; additional support comes from different foundations and programs. The institute has been the beneficiary of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Gambling Tax Board and “The Southern Estonian Language and Culture” government program.

The main aim of Võro Institute is scientific development as well as dealing with matters unique to the Vana-Võromaa (the historical Võro County area), concentrating on research of its linguistic and cultural character, maintaining its vitality and introducing its cultural heritage.

The responsibilities of Võro Institute are:

 1) Improving the local intellectual and material environment by valuing traditional way of living. Researching how to increase the possibilities of growth potential and introducing them to the wider public;

 2) Researching and regulating toponyms of the area, with assistance from national municipal conventions;

3) Researching the character of the võro language and regulating its public use as well as publishing material in this area;

 4) Enriching the curriculum of the area’s schools and extra-curricular training programs with võro culture and language studies and methodical materials, also preparing and publishing didactic literature as well as regular fiction;

 5) Researching local intellectual and material folk culture and helping to preserve it. This includes gathering material goods and organising the preservation process;

 6) Developing the principles for the balanced development of the use of nature, living environment and production;

 7) Taking part in work on the area’s development concept and planning principles taking sustainable development principles into account;

 8) Taking part in regional-political research;

 9) Taking part in solving other questions regarding regional development as necessary and possible.