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Current Events

December 14-15, 2007

The Finnish International Studies Association (FISA) together with the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights with the support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the University of Minnesota's Government of Finland/David and Nancy Speer Visiting Professorship presents a two-day conference on the theme of 'Humanitarianism'.

Registration is required! All registrations to Ms Sanna Villikka by November 29 to:

The goal is to examine how lessons learned from the diverse emergency networks, which bring together national, defence, judicial, public policy, and civil society actors, can be used to illuminate contemporary humanitarianism. The workshop examines the extensive practice of international humanitarianism, expressive of the idea that individuals and their collectives have obligations to distant others and should work to reduce their suffering. The seminar will chart the vast and often ad-hoc institutional networks, comprised of states, international organizations, and non-governmental actors.

The fluxing humanitarian networks aim to improve the fates of millions, for example, by providing emergency assistance, supporting human rights, promoting good governance and democracy, helping to maintain the rule of law, eradicating poverty, fighting epidemic diseases and supplying medicines, helping war-torn societies, and using military means to protect basic rights. The humanitarian impulse and sentiment is often founded on ethical - as opposed to political - commitments are not to acknowledge territorial boundary. Boundaries are considered universal, extending beyond those who are 'like us'. In covering what is defined as the human polity - i.e. humanity - humanitarianism has become an expression of a world order. On the one hand, it is increasingly committed to both helping those in immediate danger and creating a more just, humane, and civilized human condition. On other hand, it shapes and moulds societies to fit a common Western pattern. Humanitarianism provides increasingly influential framework that the states have to take into account in justifying they actions. Ethics and politics weave complex networks of interaction between different actors and offer various roles for them.

Presentations on Friday, 14th of December are open for all interested. Registration by November 29 to Sanna Villikka!

Paper proposals for Saturday's seminar session should be send to Mika Aaltola ( ) by November 29.

Final Programme

Friday 14th of December, 10-16, Main Building of University of Helsinki (Unioninkatu 33), Konsistorisali.

9:00-9:15   Opening remarks

9:15-10:15 Frédéric Mégret: Seeing the world through 'humanitarianism?

10:15-11:15 Liisa Laakso: "Humanitarian Aid and Development"

11:15-12:15 Kari Möttölä: "The European Union addressing the juxtaposition of soft and hard security"


13:30-14:30   Raimo Väyrynen: ?Contemporary Humanitarian Crisis??


15:00-16:00 Raymond Duvall: "Humanitarianism and Its Violences: Bodies, Beings, and the Politics of Caring"

16:00-17:00 Julian Reid: "The Global Governmentalisation of Humanitarianism"

Saturday: Closed Research Session


Friday, September 28, 2007

7-9:30 PM — Suomi-Finland Social Club: movies (about Finns); music (by Finns) and snacks (for everybody).Come enjoy a social hour with legendary Finnish singer and songwriter J. Karjalainen, see short videos about Finnish Americans and enjoy J. Karjalainen's Lännen-Jukka String Band live! Room 120, Elmer L. Andersen Library, on the West Bank of the U of M campus. Free of cost and all are warmly invited. See the link above for a pdf with more details.

Summer 2007 Program in Political Communication for Graduate Students, Tampere and Helsinki, Finland & St. Petersburg Russia

Inquiry to Impact Symposium

Policy Makes a Difference:
Making Education and Youth Engagement Successful in Finland

Dr. Lasse Siurala
Director of Youth, City of Helsinki

Date: April 30, 2007
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Oak Street SE
Minneapolis, MN55455-2022

Lasse Siurala                 
Discover how schooling and out of school time learning works in Finland.  Finland plays a leading role in designing youth research, training youth workers, and giving voice to young people throughout Europe.
Discover why young people in Finland consistently rank ahead of all other nations in nearly all educational indicators. 
Youthworkers, organizational leaders and policy makers have a lot to learn from those in Finland responsible for both formal and non-formal education, youth development, and youth engagement. 
On Monday, April 30 please join us to hear Dr. Siurala speak about youth policy that is youth centered and opportunity focused.  Table discussions and questions will follow in response to Dr. Siurala’s remarks.
This symposium is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.  Please go to this website to register:  If you have questions please call Colleen at 612-624-9109.


Summer Program in Political Communication for Graduate Students

Tampere, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg, Russia

August 6-24, 2007

The University of Tampere in Finland is offering a summer enrichment study program on Political Communication in August 2007. The program combines classroom discussion in English led by expert faculty in the field of political communication, with travel and scholarly exchange in Finland and St. Petersburg.

This summer opportunity is intended for graduate students, especially those with an interest in political communication in a comparative global context.

Program plan: The summer program is composed of three parts:

1.  Seminar in Tampere, Finland, August 6-15

2. Nordic conference on Media and Communication Research in Helsinki, August 16-18

3. Visit to St.Petersburg, August 19-23

The program offers spaces for 4-5 graduate students from the University of Minnesota.  These students will participate together with students from the University of Tampere in the Master's program in political communication and with graduate students from University of Texas, Austin. The total number of participants in the summer school is expected to be 10-15.

The program faculty leaders are professors Kaarle Nordenstreng (Tampere), Mika Aaltola (UoMN) and Joseph Straubhaar (UoT).

Texas students should refer to the University of Texas College of Communication for scholarship information.

The program does not offer course credit, but independent study graduate credit may be available upon consultation with the UoM instructor.

For more information on the program, interested students should contact Mika Aaltola at

Costs and Scholarships

There is no program fee or tuition for the program.  Accommodation in student dormitories (single rooms with a bathroom) throughout the summer program is provided by the University of Tampere.  The University will also pay for the student union membership fee which entitles one to reduced prices in the university cafeterias, city buses, and intercity railways.

Interested students can apply for scholarship support from the Government of Finland/David and Nancy Speer Chair in Finnish Studies.  The scholarship provides for roundtrip airfare Minneapolis – Tampere, international travel insurance, and a small stipend ($440) to help offset the cost of the field trip to St. Petersburg and the conference registration fee.

Board and other incidental costs (estimated at $300) are borne by the participants.

Application Information

To Apply for participation in the program and for the scholarship, submit the

Application deadline is May 1, 2007.

Klaas van der Sanden
Institute for Global Studies
University of Minnesota
214 Social Sciences Tower
267-19th Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: 612-625-1856
Fax: 612-626-2242