ETMU Award 2010: Pekka Haavisto

ETMU Recognition Award 2010 to Pekka Haavisto

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 award of the year 2010 is allotted to Member of Parliament Pekka Haavisto.

Pekka Haavisto (b. 23 March 1958) was re-elected to Finnish Parliament in the Finnish parliamentary election of March 2007 after an absence of 12 years. He is also a member of Helsinki City Council. Haavisto was a member of Parliament of Finland in 1987-95. He was the chairperson of the Green League from 1993-1995. He served as the Minister of Environment between 1995 and 1999. He was the first European cabinet minister representing a Green party.

From 1999 to 2005 Haavisto worked in various tasks in the United Nations. He led the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) research groups in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Palestine and Sudan. He also coordinated a UN investigation in the effects of depleted uranium in Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Haavisto also represented UNEP in the investigations in the Baia Mare mining accident in Romania. In 2005 he was appointed as the special representative of European Union in Sudan where he participated in the Darfur peace talks. In 2007 Haavisto was re-elected to parliament from the electoral district of Helsinki.

Pekka Haavisto works as a peace negotiator in conflict areas where Finland receives annually a lot of asylum seekers and refugees. In this way Haavisto constructs ties that promote equity – which is one of the main goals of ETMU. In the peace negotiations in Darfur, Sudan, in Somalia and Afghanistan Haavisto also acts preventively, thinking of the global situation.

Haavisto represents the new generation in the field of Finnish peace negotiation. He has his own approach: he is not afraid of taking personal risks or putting himself at stake with his own background and experiences. He sees the African continent as an equal partner for co-operation and brings forth its great potential: he has pioneered in changing the stereotypical conceptions of Africa that Finns often have.

In media Haavisto appears as a brave figure always fighting for human rights. This is particularly important in times when immigration is widely criticized and the promotion of multiculturalism is constantly questioned. Haavisto’s pursuit gives every-day visibility to how human dignity cannot be questioned and how every human being carries the potential for promoting a better future.

The ETMU reward has been granted since 2004 to academician Erik Allardt, professor (emerita) Marja-Liisa Swantz, professor Karmela Liebkind, professor (emeritus) Tom Sandlund, chancellery counsellor Risto Laakkonen and professor (emerita) Rauni Räsänen.