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Anita Lehikoinen

Anita Irmeli Lehikoinen
Born April 27, 1959, Riihimäki

MA 1987 (English Philology), University of Helsinki

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC), 2013-
Director general at the Department for Higher Education and Science Policy in the MEC, 2012–2013
Various duties with higher education and science policy in the MEC, 1989-
English teacher, both hourly and at adult education centres, while attending university

Author of multiple national and international MEC working group reports

Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by Joe McVeigh

My Best Memories from the University of Helsinki

The young people today have trouble imagining how different studying and life in general are in Finland today when compared to the 1980s. However, I believe that the students of today go through similar phases to the ones I did back then. I still remember vividly how I felt when little by little through my university studies I learned to believe that almost anything is possible. I came to the university as a somewhat shy working class girl from a small industrial town, and I wondered what it would all be like and if I would know how to act the right way. When I found out that you can be yourself at the university it was both liberating and empowering. That is of course all a part of youth but the university environment also had a strong effect on it. I hope that the university still maintains an atmosphere where students can feel that all directions are available to them.

The most significant moment outside the university was meeting Mr Lehikoinen at the café in the Porthania building. Before that I had been an assiduous student. It was then that the pace of my studies ground to a halt, but that meeting gave my life such substance that no amount of studying or money could ever bring.

I also remember the student organisation parties fondly. In particular when at some party we would perform Shakespeare’s tragedies, such as Macbeth. I was one of the Three Witches—an excellent role for me.

Pure joy in Finnish summer. A water thermometer served as a microphone in this game.


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