New Finn and Member of Finnish Parliament Hussein al-Taee (The Finnish Social Democratic Party) invited 67 New Finns members from different backgrounds to discus and contemplate the role of New Finns and how they will shape the Finnish Society in the future.
Participants of the workshop were from six different Finnish Political Parties, 15 different national backgrounds and seven Finnish cities.
On the onset of the workshop, the host, MP al-Taee (The Finnish Social Democratic Party), emphasized the importance of this remarkable and unique day, which assembled a significant number of New Finns influencers on the political and societal grounds.
TThe workshop also enjoyed the presence and encouraging speeches and comments from former president of Finland Tarja Halonen, former Finnish Foreign Affairs minister MP Erkki Tuomioja (The Finnish Social Democratic Party), former minister and MP Maria Guzenina (The Finnish Social Democratic Party) and current Finnish Foreign Minister MP Pekka Haavisto (Green League) and former Prime Minister MP Matti Vanhanen (Centre Party).
Former and current Finnish leaders shed the light the pivotal role, the irreplaceable input and its high importance the New Finns contributed to the Finnish society. Leaders also encouraged New Finns to double their influence and participation in the decision-making activities and the implementations of the relevant decisions, in order to architect and shape Finland, which bestows possibilities to be part and parcel of the society to everyone regardless her/his background.
During the workshop, New Finns participants were divided into groups and each group was assigned to present recommendations of how good and functioning integration by the New Finns can contribute positively the Finnish decision-making and implementation. Participant also got an opportunity to present themselves to each other briefly with the aim to establishing different networks and cooperation in the future.
Groups presented the at the end of Workshop their views of how inclusive politics and integrated society can secure the Finnish welfare in the long-term.
Groups’ messages were clear as crystal: more New Finns in the decision-making and implementation related to integrational education and trainings, New Finns must become more active in enhancing the development of the entire country’s interests, it was also suggested more targeted trainings for the teachers and trainers, who deal with the New comers and New Finns as well.
The groups also unanimously and vociferously suggested the termination of so called S2 education system (Finnish as a second language), because this system has long-term negative impact to the students of foreign backgrounds on the stage of access to Higher Education for example Universities.
The role of media and its influence on how society thinks and assumes issues was also one of the key issues discussed during group sessions. Groups’ suggestion on media issue was, to let New Finns with motivation join Finnish media industry and media houses, in order to get alternatively the other side of the story. With this, we can root-out misleading information about New Finns and how Finnish media portrays it.
In the end of the Workshop, participants enjoyed delicious multicultural food and live music presented by money-tongued guitarist and drummer.
The host of the workshop, MP al-Taee (The Finnish Social Democratic Party), expressed his gratitude the participants and promised more New Finns Workshops in the future, because its participants witnessed the importance and the impact of the workshop.
–Editor of suomen somalimediaverkosto, Trainer of Finnish Foundation for Media and development (Finnish acronym “Vikes” Viestintä- ja kehityssäätiö) and Translator