Upcoming Events (December 2019 edition)

Event: What is happening in South America and why?

Date: Mon 13.1.2020

Time: 13-15

Location: Think Corner/Fönster Stage in the 1st floor, 

                  Yliopistonkatu 4, 00100 Helsinki


During the past fall, South America has been in flames. Countries like Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia have gone through political turbulence and a wave of demonstrations that have in some cases escalated into violence between the protesters and the government actors.

What has led to a chain of turmoil across South America? Are there common features behind resurgent unrest in the different South American countries? Is South America drifting towards increased authoritarianism or can the protests help to strengthen democracy?

The discipline of Development Studies of the University of Helsinki has gathered a group of Latin American experts to discuss and make sense of what is happening in South America and why. The event begins with a panel discussion where researchers and civil society activists from Finland and respective South American countries reflect upon the turbulent fall in South America. After a guided conversation, the public will be given an opportunity to pose questions to the panellists.


Dr. Paola Minoia, a senior lecturer in Development Studies and PI of an Academy of Finland project on Eco-cultural pluralism in the Ecuadorian Amazonia.

Dr. Auli Leskinen, a development director of education export to Latin America at EduPark Finland. Auli holds a doctoral degree from the University of Helsinki and Universidad de Chile. Her doctoral dissertation examined Chile’s democracy development from a cultural perspective. Auli has worked as a journalist for YLE in Chile in 1992-2007, as a researcher in Finland and the United States in 2008-2011 and as a head of Finnish Madrid Institute in 2012-2016.

Laura Kumpuniemi, activist and a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Eastern Finland. Laura’s research focuses on alternative economic activities and their political dimensions and connections to democratization in Cochabamba, Bolivia. In her research and activism, she is also interested in social movement’s role for democracy, alternatives to the mainstream development model and human rights issues.

Germán A. Quimbayo Ruiz, Ph.D. student and researcher in environmental policy at the University of Eastern Finland. His doctoral research is about contemporary environmental conflicts related to urban planning and nature in Bogotá, Colombia.


Anna Heikkinen, Ph.D. Researcher in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, focusing on Peru’s water governance and water conflicts in the context of climate change.

The event is co-organized by the discipline of Development Studies and Academy of Finland funded research project Citizen Utopias in the Global South led by Dr. Eija Ranta.



Event: (Re)purposing the university to tackle the climate emergency

January 16, 2020, 13 – 15 at the Think Corner Stage

Earth is currently facing an unprecedented climate emergency, which has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity. The need for deep and transformative action is urgent, and universities are in a key position to work as pioneers in sustainable climate action.

This brainstorming dialogue will feature 3 short talks (from a representative from the university management, a professor, and a student activist) and a facilitated panel discussion exploring questions such as: How could and should the University of Helsinki address the climate emergency? What can researchers, students and university governance do? What does a university as a climate actor look like?


University Management: Vice-Rector Tom Böhling

Professor: Dr. Barry Gills, Development Studies

Student Activist: Laura Kolehmainen, student of politics and law, founder of Ilmastoveivi

Facilitator: Dr. Ossi Ollinaho, HELSUS and EXALT

The aim of the event is to offer a forum to discuss and reflect on the university’s own position as part of a currently unsustainable society, but also to tap into its potential in countering the climate emergency and finding solutions toward a sustainable future with a focus on developing the basis for concrete proposals for action by the University.

The event is co-organized by The Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS).

The event at the Think Corner stage is open for all with no registration. If you are planning to join us from 15 – 16 for Coffee/Conversation at the HELSUS Hub Lounge (Porthania 2nd floor, Yliopistonkatu 3), please fill in this e-lomake to let us know.  We ask for registration so we can order an appropriate amount of coffee and reduce any potential waste.

Event’s Facebook-page

We hope to see you on January 16 to discuss this important and timely topic!