Founded in 2004, Budapest-based Finnagora is one of the 17 culture and science institutes of Finland around the world. In its recent Finland focus, Diplomacy & Trade published an interview with the director of Finnagora, Leena Pasanen.
“Finnagora is one of the youngest of these. It concentrates on contemporary arts and presents new innovations of Finnish culture and society. Furthermore, it helps scientists, economists and prominent figures of society to network,” the Director of the institute, Leena Pasanen says.
“Finnagora was founded ten years ago by the Finnagora Foundation, a group of passionate people from major Finnish and Hungarian cities, universities, institutions and companies who saw the need and potential for Finland and Hungary to tighten their collaboration in the areas of culture, academic exchange and business,” she adds.
The institute operates in the fields of culture exportation, education, science and economy. There is extensive cooperation within its Finnish, Hungarian and international network; the staff’s deep knowledge of the Finnish culture and know-how form the basis of its operation. Finnagora works in close cooperation with the Embassy of Finland and Finpro and is also member of EUNIC, the European Union National Institutes for Culture network.
To the assumption that the linguistic relationship between Finns and Hungarians gives a special touch to bilateral cultural relations, Leena Pasanen notes that “I must say working here in Hungary is a great pleasure. All doors seem to be open for Finns! Finnish culture is amazingly well known here, which makes our collaboration easy and interesting. We feel very welcome here and our special relationship must play a big role in that.”
Finnagora is one of the founders of the Team Finland partnership, along with the Finnish Embassy in Hungary and the trade promotion organization Finpro. All three of them are based in the same building complex. “Being part of House of Finland gives us many benefits. Together, we are more visible, we have a very large network and our communication is fast and easy. It is a great pleasure to brainstorm together and find new ways to surprise our Hungarian friends with our events,” the Finnagora Director points out.
As for the main Hungarian partners in conducting the institute’s activity, she mentions that they work in co-operation with many Hungarian museums, cultural venues, universities and institutions. “Don’t forget, we are a member of the EUNIC cluster that brings together cultural institutions from the EU countries based in Hungary. We have many long-term partners but we are also constantly seeking new friends for collaboration.”
Leena Pasanen has been with Finnagora since August 2011. Regarding the most interesting/challenging aspects of this work, she says “I have enjoyed every second of these two and a half years! It is an absolute joy to work with so many talented, intriguing and innovative people, both from Finland and from Hungary, in an environment that is constantly changing. Every day is different, but never dull!”