Throughout my career, I have been involved in the development of society. As a political decision-maker, my focus was not only on my own constituency, but also on the whole of Finland. As the Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, I turned my attention to almost the entire world because, in addition to the Member States, we also made policy recommendations to the developing countries. Now that I am at the service of the business community, this trend of development continues, as the goal of the Finnish Commerce Federation is to work towards creating a well-functioning commercial sector and competitive Finland.
It is practically impossible to pursue prosperity and economic success without investing in competence. In order to develop a better Finnish society, we need studied information and educated citizens. The challenges of the future cannot be met without a high level of ground-breaking education.
These were the starting points I had in mind when I happily accepted the request to join the Board of the University of Vaasa. I look forward to joining the entire university community and being involved in developing an internationally competitive university of science. The core values of the University of Vaasa, courage, community and responsibility, are also close to my heart.
Role of the University Board is to challenge and encourage
The work done by the previous Board forms an excellent basis for the new Board to start its work from. Its main task is to support the university management in implementing the university’s strategy. The new strategy provides clear and current guidelines for the development of the university. It is essential for the Board to continue to focus on the issues that ensure the University of Vaasa’s status as an internationally notable and esteemed university of science.
In order to achieve this, it is important, first of all, to focus on providing high-quality research and education. We are currently reforming the content and offering of education at the university and have made major investments in research. The Board wants to act as a sparring partner for both these projects in order to ensure that they are put into practice effectively and that the efforts are aimed correctly.
Achieving the goal of internationalisation also requires strong support from the University Board. We must be ambitious and there certainly will be challenges along the way when we set out to ensure that by 2030, approximately 35 per cent of our degree students will be of foreign background. Naturally, achieving this goal also requires that our researchers and staff are international as well.
An international university to develop the vitality of the entire region
The university must live in the here and now and breathe in tune with surrounding society. It must be capable of understanding the current situation in the world, both locally and globally. Internationalisation will also help us develop the vitality of the entire region more efficiently than ever. In order to ensure this, it is important that we have good contacts with local companies, organisations and decision-makers. Cooperation is needed to channel the agility that stems from the size of the university into potential. Each and every one of us is needed in this work.
Chair of the Board of the University of Vaasa
Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation