In general, the diplomatic personnel of Finnish Foreign Ministry change their post every three to four years. This autumn, the Embassy of Finland in London has welcomed three new diplomats: Leena Gardemeister, Lasse Sinikallas and Juho Simpura.
Minister Leena Gardemeister started in her new assignment as the Deputy Head of Mission at the beginning of August. Gardemeister stands in for the Ambassador when required, is in charge of the administration of the Embassy and coordinates the Embassy’s reporting to Finland. Before her London post, Gardemeister worked as the Director of the Unit for Export Control in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki.
Previously, Gardemeister has worked with Arms Control issues, including the Arms Trade Treaty, as well as with Security Policy, Middle East and Western Balkans issues. She has held positions at the representation of Finland to the European Union and the Mission of Finland to NATO as well as in the Embassy of Finland in Kuala Lumpur. Gardemeister also worked with the International Body on Arms Decommissioning in Belfast, Northern Ireland from 1995 to1996.
At the beginning of August, the new First Secretaries of the Embassy, Lasse Sinikallas and Juho Simpura, also started in their posts. Lasse Sinikallas has worked in the Finnish Foreign Service since 2009. He has held postings in Helsinki, St Petersburg and most recently, in the Embassy of Finland in Moscow, where he worked particularly with trade and economic issues. In London, Sinikallas will continue on similar topics as he is in charge of the reporting on trade and economic policy, EU’s internal markets and agricultural, forest and environmental policy. In addition to this, Sinikallas is the new Team Finland coordinator in the UK.
Juho Simpura, who began his career at the Finnish Foreign Service in 2008, comes to London from the Embassy of Finland in Beijing. Simpura worked in Beijing for four years, specialising in topics such as the environment, energy and technology. In his new assignment it will be Simpura’s duty to report on, amongst other things, certain aspects of the domestic policy of the UK and the EU's institutional development and enlargement.
Task rotation every couple of years between domestic and foreign postings is challenging, but also very rewarding for the diplomats, as variable tasks offer a great chance to improve and widen their knowledge and skills. The new office-holders at the embassy in London look forward to the new challenges. “The representation in London is important and deals with various key issues essential for the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I’m certain we will have many inspiring tasks in the months and years to come”, says Gardemeister.