Riikkamari Muhonen started as the new director of FinnAgora in mid-January. She hopes to make use of her academic background in developing the activities of the institute.

I visited Budapest for the first time a few decades ago, in 2003. Since then, I returned to this beautiful city almost every year. A new chapter in my connections with Hungary began in 2016, when I was accepted to a PhD program at the Department of History at the Central European University and moved to live and study in Budapest.

The PhD research project deepened my understanding about the history and societies of Central and Eastern Europe. As part of the program, I completed research exchanges both in Russia and the United States, and after graduation started work as an assistant professor at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. From there I returned to Budapest, which makes me extremely happy.

FinnAgora is a somewhat familiar organization for me already since my student years, when I participated in various exhibitions organized by the institute and took my Hungarian friends to see Finnish films at the Finnish Film Days, Finn Filmnapok. As the new director of the institute, I hope not only to maintain our good traditions in providing an interesting cultural program for the Hungarian audience, but also to expand the institute’s activities towards the academic community. In addition to the long-established collaboration in the field of linguistics, I hope to create projects that would bring together Finnish and Hungarian experts of humanities and social sciences.

Another focus of my work will be to develop the communications of the institute. Alongside my academic career I have work experience both as a journalist and as a member of the public diplomacy team at the Embassy of Finland in Moscow, so in the near future I hope we can make the content of the FinnAgora website and social media even more attractive than before to reach new audiences. And we have so many stories to share! This early spring we organize the Finnish Film Days already for the 13th time in a row, and in addition to that our calendar is filled with media art, literature and gastronomy from Finland.

Találkozzunk a FinnAgorában, see you at FinnAgora!

Riikkamari Muhonen