Around 100 people gathered at the European Commission Representation in Helsinki on December 12th to celebrate the National Closing Event of the European Year in Finland. Organised by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the event was hosted by the national Coordinator of the EY2012, Professor Anneli Leppanen, and the Secretary of the Year, Marjo Wallin.
Welcome speeches were delivered by Sinikka Näätsaari, State Secretary to the Minister of Social Affairs and Health; Harri Vainio, Executive Director of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and Sari Artjoki, from the European Commission Representation in Finland, who admitted how proud she is that her country has “cleaned the table” of the European Year 2012 Awards, winning in three categories out of seven. “I am sure that after this European Year elderly people will be seen as an active and positive part of the society”, se said.
Then if was time for 76-year old rapper Eila Nevanranta to delight the audience with themes from her brand new first album, “Skolioosi”.
Marja Saarenheimo, Senior Researcher Fellow of the Central Union for the Welfare of the Aged, talked about their Four Generations Meet campaign, and Anna Pylkkanen, from Proud Age, also explained some of their activities. Proud Age, she said, wants to show that ageing is as a good thing full of possibilities.
The event included a presentation of the Finnish Winners of the EY2012 Awards. Hannu Gustafsson, member of the Grandads at School initiative which won the generations@school prize said that “the best award comes from children. Over 500 kids call me grandfather in Mynamaki, and I see it as an honour”.
The EY2012 had 11 ambassadors in Finland, who were also honoured during the closing ceremony. Famous dancer Aira Samulin, 85 years old, shared with the audience some of the touching moments she experienced this year in different meetings with people. She was one of the most active ambassadors of the European Year, visiting students for the generations@school initiative and also participating in the Seniorforce Day.
Professor Leppanen closed the event stressing that the projects and policies initiated this year will definitely continue in 2013.
Picture gallery of the event.
Click here to browse through a selection of EY2012-related initiatives in Finland.
For more information about the European Year 2012 in Finland you may visit this website.