Wappupuhe 1.5.2019

This post is also available in: Finnish Swedish

Dear Wappu crowd!

I want to remind us all of Wappu being an international day of celebration.
Our generation has grown up in an integrating Europe and an internationalising Finland. This is all the more reason to be puzzled by the public discussion of recent years.

It has even been claimed that the nation could cope by curling up and closing its borders.

But it doesn’t!

Globalisation and international competition over skills are too tough for us to manage with only five and a half million heads, no matter how bright they are.

At my home university Aalto, I have seen how much of a strength a genuinely international community is.

World-class innovations, research and art can only be created if we participate in a global exchange of thoughts. We must welcome the builders of the future from elsewhere as well.

If internationalisation stops proceeding, it may start to take steps backwards. It has been with a heavy heart that I have listened to stories about the anxiety of British exchange students whose futures have been lost to Brexit.

Yet there is still much to do here in Finland as well.

Some of the obstacles to internationalisation are legislative. Finland’s residence permit system is bureaucratic, and the universities’ tuition fees are not tempting people from outside the EU to be educated here.

Some of the obstacles are cultural, and these are something we can all do our share for.
Your share might be, for example, interfering with any racism you encounter or learning about unfamiliar cultures.

Before I wish you a happy Wappu, I would like to advertise the fact that the Wappupotti appeal collecting funds for mental health work is ongoing until tomorrow.

Happy international Wappu!

Chair of the Board Tapio Hautamäki on Wappu day 1 May 2019





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