To make things happen

It was three years ago in Copenhagen that I had my first Metropolis International -experience. During a coffee break I overheard some Finnish participants talking about the possibility of having the conference in Finland one day. The idea struck me at once as a great opportunity of enriching the debate of the Finnish immigration policy and activities. At the time I worked in the Ministry of Interior in a development project of National Integration Programme and one of my duties was to look for best practices internationally –and at the Conference in Denmark it felt as if I had found one!

Since then, we started taking small steps towards making the idea come alive, talked with people in Finland who knew about Metropolis and gradually started negotiating with authorities. Then, together with Dr. Tuomas Martikainen we presented the interest of Finland organizing the 2013 conference for the International Steering Committee (ISC) in 2010 in The Hague. With European Migration Network coordinator Dr. Kielo Brewis we invited Dr. Howard Duncan to give a lecture next spring in a seminar in Finland, and to meet the interested parties and see the possible locations in Finland for an International conference.

 

 

In the spring 2011 it seemed that the Ministry wanted to delegate the organizing of the conference to a local actor. Several cities were interested, but City of Tampere gave the clearest signal of taking the responsibility – Marja Nyrhinen contacted me telling that she had been interested in Metropolis International for many years and invited Dr. Duncan for a visit to Tampere Hall. The Tampere Mayor's office took the initiative seriously and so the proposal for the 2013 conference was presented to the International Steering Committee in the Azores conference 2011 by a delegation of representatives of City of Tampere, Tampere Hall (the venue), the network of researchers and regional authorities of Finnish Government.

Meanwhile, together with the network of local action projects all over Finland we included the conference of 2011 in our action plan and applied for a workshop in the Azores Conference. People were excited of the idea of presenting their work in an international setting and to hear more of how migration is dealt with in other parts of the world. It was a success – some 50 Finnish researchers, practitioners and policy-makers participated in the Azores conference, showing the enthusiasm and support for the bidding of 2013 conference! With hard work and good spirits the bunch of us together convinced the Steering Committee, and finally on October 19, 2011 we received a letter telling that the Steering Committee wanted to offer the privilege of organizing the 2013 conference to the City of Tampere.

Since then the activities has been accelerating including preparatory meetings and practical work of many kind. The Center for Economic development, Transport and the Environment in Tampere region has generously supported the preparations letting me continue the work on Metropolis Conference after my resigning from the Ministry and joining the regional governmental office in Tampere. Director General Leena Vestala has given her full commitment to make the Conference a visible and meaningful happening in the region and has appointed me to participate in the preparations that have included also the ISC meetings in Mexico City and Cape Town.

During the quite long span of preparations for a conference as big as Metropolis International, many political and practical changes are bound to occur – to make sure the changes in personnel or political sphere will not jeopardize the actions, it is vital to have institutions as well as a large network of people committed. In the midst of preparations, less than a year to the event I can see that we have managed to get more and more people involved. To get to this point I want to thank also all of you whose name I have not mentioned, but who have given your time and effort in planning the event – I wish we all meet again during the five days of action in September 2013 in Tampere! It will be a great happening thanks to all of you who have given your positive thoughts and serious work for Tampere 2013.

http://www.ely-keskus.fi/en/frontpage/Sivut/default.aspx

paula kuusipaloPaula Kuusipalo
Adviser, Immigration Unit/Centre for Economic Development, 
Transport and the Environment

 

 

 

 

Wagtail – migratory bird

The wagtail is the provincial bird of the Tampere Region

Wagtails are small birds with long tails which they wag frequently. Wagtails are slender, often colourful, ground-feeding insectivores of open country in the Old World. They are ground nesters, laying up to six speckled eggs at a time. Among their most conspicuous behaviours is a near constant tail wagging, a trait that has given the birds their common name.

(source: Wikipedia)