In general, the diplomatic personnel of the Finnish Foreign Ministry change their post every three to four years. This autumn, the Embassy of Finland in London has welcomed three new diplomats: Päivi Pihlajamäki, Eveliina Saarinen and Juha Nojonen. They are all excited about their new positions and are looking forward to living and working in London.
Päivi Pihlajamäki and Eveliina Saarinen have started in their new positions in the Political Department of the Embassy. Counsellor Päivi Pihlajamäki moved to London from Helsinki after her maternity leave. In her new assignment Pihlajamäki is in charge of the reporting on trade, development and environmental policy among other things, and is also in charge of EU's internal markets as well as energy and climate issues. She is also the new Team Finland coordinator in the UK. Before London, Pihlajamäki worked in Helsinki as an Adviser to the Under-Secretary Pirkko Hämäläinen. She has been in international assignments in Moscow and in Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU in Bryssels. Pihlajamäki hopes that she will learn a lot in her new job.
First Secretary Eveliina Saarinen is in charge of the reporting on EU policy of the UK and the EU's institutional development and enlargement. She is also in charge of areas such as Europe, Turkey, Middle-East and the Gulf. Before London, Saarinen worked as a Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Abu Dhabi. During this time she gained a lot of experience especially in the area of Gulf.
Juha Nojonen is the new Property Management and Office Services Attendant of the Embassy. Previously Nojonen has worked in different positions for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as well as for the Finnish missions abroad. For the last four years he worked for the NSA, National Security Agency, in Helsinki.
Task rotation every couple of years between domestic and foreign postings is very typical for diplomats at the Finnish Foreign Ministry. It can sometimes be very challenging but it also gives great opportunities for personal development and widens the knowledge and skills of diplomats. New staff at the Embassy in London hopes to learn a lot during their time in the UK. "It's inspiring to work with Britons, they are very competent", says Eveliina.
Besides the interesting tasks, our new colleagues are very excited to live in a busy, buzzing and diverse city like London. It's guaranteed that there is always something to do. "London is a world-class metropolis and a center for so many things. I'm sure I will find a lot of new perspectives to the whole world", says Päivi.
Text and photo: Lotta Viljakainen, Press Assistant of the Embassy of Finland in London