Setting Sails for a New Adventure

January - February 2024



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Happy New Year! As you may know, my name is Henrik Totterman; I was recently appointed the Finnish Honorary Consul for the City of Boston and the States of New England (MA, ME, NH, VT, RI). I look forward to engaging with you in trade, education, and cultural matters. We had a chance to meet with several of you during the recent advance Finnish presidential elections hosted by my employer, Hult International Business School in Cambridge, MA. Meeting so many of you in person over these two days was both energizing and inspiring. Our New England community has experience, expertise, and insight (!!).

For those who couldn't attend the presidential voting or haven't yet responded to my brief Honorary Consul survey, click here. It takes five or so minutes to complete. The goal is to learn about the engagement opportunities that excite you, guiding our community efforts. So far, I've received over 30 responses, and they are incredibly insightful! For instance, most are asking for a regular newsletter on matters relevant to Finns living or interested in New England-related happenings. This is precisely why I have created “The NEF” – this newsletter for you. I would love to hear from anyone interested in engaging and supporting the bridge-building between New England and Finland in the most positive ways. Feel free to share this newsletter to spread the word.

Below is a summary of collected insights to date through the Honorary Consul Survey, highlighting areas of priority and interest among respondents. I will update insights as I collect more responses.

Economic and Trade Relationships

  1. Volunteer / organize trade-related events, company visits, and round tables.
  2. Organize a Finnish trade network in New England.
  3. Seek opportunities to cooperate in IT, biotech, healthcare, and other fields.
  4. Share experiences from projects like FinnGen.
  5. Organize and participate in startup events and meetups.
  6. Assist Finnish companies in establishing themselves in the New England region.
  7. Help connect people with experts in Boston by leveraging business contacts in venture capital, IT, edtech, biotechnology etc.

Educational and Research:

  1. Support and networking for exchange students / visiting researchers.
  2. Participate and contribute to online academic courses and webinars.
  3. Career mentoring for students and postdocs in biotech.
  4. Teach the Finnish language and facilitate cultural exchanges.
  5. Host educational and fundraising events.
  6. Engage in academic and biotech research collaboration.
  7. Specialized mentorship in advanced technology and research networking.

Cultural Exchange and Public Diplomacy:

  1. Volunteer for events, especially those that promote Finnish culture.
  2. Participate in events with a readiness to donate money to support these activities.
  3. Hospitality support: Offer accommodation for visitors from Finland.
  4. Willingness to help establish groups for Finnish people and Finnish Americans.
  5. An interest in educational roles and hosting various events.
  6. Share my experience setting up events, introducing Finnish entertainment, and seeing the potential for more community-centric events like viewing parties and networking groups.
  7. Promote cooperation between New England and Finnish universities/entities.
  8. Recognition that while some academic collaborations are successful, there is a perception of untapped potential in commercial and most science sectors. Much more to be done!

Community Engagement:

  1. Connect Finnish activities with other Nordic activities to strengthen New England ties.
  2. Embrace Finlandia Foundation and New England Suomi-koulu (Finnish School) as well-established regional social and educational drivers.
  3. Calls for networking opportunities, particularly for young Finnish-American professionals and students.
  4. There is a need for greater engagement with the Finnish community and better information dissemination.
  5. Some virtual events, e.g., training or company introductions, but especially regular in-person networking events and celebrations of significant festivities (Dec 6, May 1, Midsummer).
  6. Facts: 1. Respondents to date live primarily within the Brookline-Salem-Waltham triangle; 2. Most respondents would like to have more in-person events; 3. Several would also like to meet with the broader Nordic community from time to time.

Henrik’s Communications Strategy

  • Newsletter: The NEF - newsletter via email to mail list on the last Sunday of the month, also posted on the blog, the link shared on social media: BostonFinns and Boston Finlandia Foundation on Facebook, and via Henrik Totterman on Linkedin. Feel free to distribute it to others as well.
  • Announcement Board with relevant New England links is also available here.
  • Facts: The vast majority of respondents are missing a regular email newsletter.

Concluding Remarks

I hope you find this brief monthly newsletter insightful. I look forward to any feedback or suggestions for content with the above broad sections in mind. QUESTION: How often would you like to receive this newsletter? I plan to send it out every month, but I am open to reducing the frequency to bimonthly. Reach out and let me know your thoughts. The publishing date for my following newsletter is Sunday, February 25, with any materials due on Wednesday, February 21.

All the best,

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Honorary Consul of Finland to the City of Boston and the States of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont 




Selected Dates (for planning purposes):

  • January: New Year's Day (Uudenvuodenpäivä): Jan 1.
  • February: Shrove Tuesday (Laskiainen): Feb 13 (2024), Kalevala Day (Kalevalan päivä): Feb 28th.
  • March: Nordic Day (Nordens dag): Mar 23, Easter (Pääsiäinen) Mar 31 (2024).
  • April-May: May Day (Vappu): Apr 30/May 1.
  • June: Runon ja suven päivä (Day of Poetry and Summer): Jun 6, Helsinki Day (Helsingin päivä): Jun 12, Midsummer (Juhannus): weekend of Jun 24.
  • July: Sleepyhead Day (Unikeonpäivä): Jul 27.
  • August-September-October: Aleksis Kivi Day: Oct 10.
  • November: All Saints' Day (Pyhäinpäivä): first Sat of Nov, Finnish Swedish Heritage Day (Ruotsalaisuuden päivä): Nov 6.
  • December: Independence Day (Itsenäisyyspäivä): Dec 6, Jean Sibelius Day: Dec 8, Lucia Day: Dec 13, Christmas (Joulu): Dec 24.