About Me

State Secretary in three Ministries

I have served as a State Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture 2013-2015 and Ministry of Employment and Economic Affairs & Ministry of Traffic and Communications 2019-2023. My responsibilities have included participation in the ministry leadership teams, head of the cabinet, law preparations, working group and process leadership responsibilities and vice-ministerial duties abroad. As the State Secretary for Education 2013 – 2015 my special focus was on science policy and Finnish education export globally.

MP and Prime Minister Sanna Marin and myself getting ready for the Independence Day celebration. Parliament building of Finland, December 2018.

Member of the Parliament

I served as the MP and member of the education and future committees of the Finnish parliament 2017 – 2019. During that period I was also in charge of the preparation of the education future vision 2030 of the social democrat party. A goal to reform secondary education and continuous learning was formulated in that process and implemented 2019 – 2021.

In the picture: with an MP colleague Sanna Marin in the yellow room of Finnish parliament building getting ready for the independence day celebration of Finland in 2018. In 2019 Sanna Marin became the prime minister of Finland.

Adjunct Professor and Director of Research Projects

I have been an adjunct professor in University of Helsinki since 2012 and was nominated as the adjunct professor of the year in 2020. I have worked as a director of two major internationally organized research projects, Finns and their history in 2008 – 2011 and Youth and History in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999 – 2003. I am a specialist on former Yugoslavia region, history politics and history culture, Finnish historical thinking, generational experiences.

Helsinki City Government and City Council

I have served in the Helsinki city council and city board 2012-2023, 2021-2023 as vice-chair of the council. Helsinki is the biggest employer of Finland with broad responsibilities in welfare services and policies. I was also vice-chair of the board of Directors of Helsinki port 2017 – 2019.

In the picture mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen and myself after we had been elected as mayor and vice-chair of the city council.

Founder and CEO of HEI Schools growth company

Helsinki International Schools Group (HEI Schools) focuses on early education in global context founded in 2015. I am the founding CEO of the company, University of Helsinki and three individuals joined as a co-founders at the early stage. HEI Schools works in over 40 countries and there are soon HEI Schools Kindergarten in all continents.

Co-Founder of United World College in Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina

United World College in Mostar opened in 2006 as the first secondary school open to all nationalities in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina utilizing over 40 year experience of international education in bringing young people from difficult background together. I was in charge of the start-up phase organisation and leadership 2001-2006. Since 2016 I have chaired the board of the background foundation of UWC Mostar called Education in Action. The Foundation has three goals: to run the model UWC school, provide teacher training and influence education reform process.

In the picture the two co-founders of United World College David Sutcliffe and Antonin Besse in front of the symbolic Mostar Gymnasium with the first chair of the college board Jasminka Bratic.

Eisenhower Fellow

2013 I was the Finnish representative in a two-month Eisenhower Fellowships Multination leadership development programme. After that I have been an education expert in the EF global network including major roles in two global conferences Future of Work (2018) and Future of Education (2020).

Dream a Dream Advisor

In 2021 I was nominated to the advisory board of a growing Indian NGO Dream a Dream that has actively and effectively supported school reform processes in India starting with the state of Delhi minister of Education.

In the picture the founder of Dream a Dream Vishal Talreja who since 2013 has been a close friend and a colleague.

International volunteer work

In 1998 I did a three-month-service as an international volunteer in Kathmandu Nepal in an NGO Maiti Nepal supporting girls and women to earn their livelihood after having been abandoned by their families. During my scholarship years in United World College of the Adriatic in Italy 1993-1995 I had a chance to participate in a board social service programme including work with refugees from forger Yugoslav region.

Design and code by Otto Ahoniemi