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ETMU Award 2008: Risto Laakkonen

The ETMU Recognition Award is granted annually at the ETMU Days to recognize major contributions to the promotion and research of ethnic relations in Finland.

The ETMU Recognition Award 2008 was granted on 24 October at the ETMU Days held in Helsinki to Risto Laakkonen. Risto Laakkonen has already on an early phase been sensitive to issues related to minority rights, ethnic relations, racism and xenophobia in Finland. He was also a strong voice within the Finnish public administration to pay attention to issues related to migration and integration. Furthermore, he has contributed to the development of research resources and other conditions for the study on ethnic relation.

Before retiring in 2004, Risto Laakkonen worked as a diplomat accredited to Stockholm and Oslo, and as a civil servant at the Finnish Ministry of Labour. He was the Secretary General of the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations, ETNO, in 1986-2004 and the Chairperson of the Advisory Board on Romani Affairs in 2002-2003. Risto Laakkonen has also been engaged in international activities concerning migration, and he has produced publications on labour markets, international issues, ethnic relations and racism. In 2006, Risto Laakkonen was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by ETNO and in 2007 he received the title of a Chancellery Counsellor from the President of the Republic. After retiring Risto Laakkonen has still been active as a lecturer and as an instructor.

Former recipients of the ETMU Recognition Award are Academician Erik Allardt (2004), Professor Emerita Marja-Liisa Swantz (2005), ProfessorKarmela Liebkind (2006) and Professor Emeritus Tom Sandlund (2007).