My first month at FinnAgora has passed, and what a speedy start it has been! 

On the first week, the Finnish Institute organized a successful Finnovation seminar on gender equality in working life. Our keynote speaker, Anni Marttinen, is a well-known economist and influencer in Finland, who has thousands of followers on her TikTok and Instagram accounts. Marttinen is an advocate of feminist economics, which takes into account gender equality, the environment and people's well-being better than the traditional neoclassical economic theory. Amnesty's gender equality coordinator Fanni Csernus and the Lazy Women collective also led workshops at the seminar.

Two weeks later, we had the pleasure of hosting the entire board of FinnAgora as our guest in sunny Budapest. The long-time chairman of the board, father Ambrosius, left his position, and alderman Jyrki Myllyvirta was elected as the new chairman. We thank father Ambrosius for his long-term commitment to the Institute, and all of our staff wish Jyrk luck and success in leading FinnAgora’s board.

At the seminar held for the Board, the director of the CEU's Democracy Institute, Zsuzsanna Szelényi, told the audience about her new book, Tainted Democracy. She painted a sharp portrait of Hungary’s political situation, and she also reflected on the possibility of a change to the current situation. Manipulated elections can also be lost, she said, quoting Orbán's interview a few weeks earlier.

Together with the staff of FinnAgora, we have discussed what kind of working community we want to build at the Institute. A work culture where we respect and trust in each other is important to all of us. Essentially, we want to work together and invest in everyday joy and empathy. Everyone hopes for clear processes. In FinnAgora's new strategy, it is stated that the Institute’s work and leadership should aim for inspiration and professionality. This is the baseline we will definitely keep in mind. In our workshop, everyone said that our strength is our wonderful, competent and responsible team. I am happy to see every day at the office that this really is true! 

My colleagues and I have also given a thought at what we can change and develop in the Institute's activities. We agreed on the need to create long-term projects and seek long-term cooperation with an increasingly large group of partners. Topics important to FinnAgora, such as equality and minority issues, will remain in our operations and will probably be accompanied by other thematic priorities. Supporting civil society actors is important to us with the new strategy, and we will work for this goal even more strongly in the next few years.

I'm looking forward to the next three years at FinnAgora, and it's a great privilege to live in Budapest!

Heljä Franssila

Photo: We organized a great spring cleaning operation right in the beginning of April. Heljä mopped, too!

Photo by: Alina Kantola