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Press Releases, 8/25/2014 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

New Heads of Diplomatic Missions to serve Finland abroad

Press release 181/2014
25 August 2014

The annual round of rotations for Heads of Diplomatic Missions is now completed. Most of the 20 new Heads of Diplomatic Missions take up their new post as from 1 September.

The majority of the Heads of Diplomatic Missions serve in other countries of the same region alsongside being the Ambassador of Finland to their country of posting. Aside from Ambassadors representing Finland in countries and organizations, Consuls General and so-called Roving Ambassadors based in Helsinki are also included among the Heads of Missions.

Starting as from 1 September are Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury (Abuja), Pauli Mäkelä (Athens), Jari Luoto (Bern), Markku Virri (Brasilia), Jari Sinkari (Hong Kong), Timo Olkkonen (Lusaka), Timo Ranta (Luxembourg), Erik Lundberg (Oslo), Pirkko-Liisa Kyöstilä (Ramallah), Valtteri Hirvonen (Reykjavik) and Kirsti Narinen (Tallinn).  

Those who started earlier this year are Anne Saloranta (Windhoek) in March and Pekka Voutilainen (Riyadh) in June. Jarmo Viinanen (Stockholm), Olli Kantanen (Riga), Päivi Hiltunen-Toivio (Jakarta) and Helena Tuuri (Prague), as well as Kai Sauer (Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations in New York) started in August.

Those starting later are Hanna Lehtinen (Warsaw, 8 September) and Mika-Markus Leinonen (Santiago, early 2015).

The rotation of Heads of Diplomatic Missions at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is usually timed to take place at the beginning of September. Heads of Diplomatic Missions generally serve at a post to which they are stationed for three to four years. They may then move on to a second posting elsewhere before they return to the Ministry in Helsinki.

The appointment rounds are prepared initially at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The decision concerning appointments is made by the President of the Republic.

Finland has a total of 91 diplomatic missions the world over. In all, 558 public servants sent from Helsinki work at the diplomatic missions. Most of the diplomatic missions have two to four seconded officials. In addition, the diplomatic missions employ about 1,150 locally hired staff members.

Finnish diplomatic missions around the world serve Finns and the Finnish society at relatively low costs. Expenditure for the diplomatic missions in 2013 totalled 158 million euros, which means that a diplomatic mission costs each Finn an average of about 31 cents per year. More about the work of diplomatic missions and the current challenges they face can be heard here:, where some of the speeches given at the Annual Meeting of Finnish Heads of Mission, held in Helsinki from 25 to 27 August, will be broadcast live.

Additional information: Vesa Lehtonen, Deputy Director General for Personnel, tel. +358 295 351 439 and Director Vesa Häkkinen, Unit for Communications on Current Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 481 9880

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Updated 8/25/2014

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