Director-General’s first official visit to Finland
During her first official visit to Finland from 19 to 20 January 2012, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova met with the President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen, as well as several government officials including Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Heidi Hautala, Minister for International Development, Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister of Culture and Sport, Jukka Gustafsson, Minister of Education and Science and Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of the City of Helsinki.
The discussions focused on the possibility of strengthening UNESCO’s cooperation with Finland within the Organization’s fields of competence. They covered Education for All (EFA), girl’s and women’s education, teacher training, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), oceans, culture, freedom of expression and media development.
While in Finland, Irina Bokova also participated in a seminar entitled “UNESCO – Freedom of Expression”, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Referring to the new challenges and threats facing freedom of expression in a digital age, she recalled UNESCO’s leading mandate in this regard. “Protecting freedom of expression is a powerful force for peace and for development,” said Irina Bokova in her key note speech. The Director-General highlighted the importance of Finland’s experience and contribution in promoting freedom of expression, especially in situations of conflict.
The Director-General also held a meeting with senior representatives of Nokia to discuss the ongoing partnership on mobile learning for EFA and potential areas of future cooperation.