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Helka Kekäläinen

Helka Maria Kekäläinen (previously Mäkinen)
Born February 2, 1967, Kankaanpää

Master of Arts 1993 and PhD 2001 (theatre studies), University of Helsinki

Head of Unit, Finnish Education Evaluation Centre
Secretary general 2008–14, Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council (FINHEEC)
Senior Advisor in university sector 2005–2008, Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council (FINHEEC)
Planning and administrative posts 2001–05, University of Helsinki
Acting professor of Theatre Studies 2000–01, University of Helsinki
Research associate in theatre studies 1998–2000, University of Helsinki
PhD student 1995–98, National Doctoral Study Programme in the Performing Arts

Dissertation: Elli Tompuri – uusi nainen ja punainen diiva (Elli Tompuri – the New Woman and the Red Diva)

Photo: Matti Kajaste
Written by Helka Kekäläinen (Olli Siitonen, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Armenia and Azerbaijan

After establishing our position as a central actor in the quality assurance and evaluation of European higher education, we were offered the chance to run European Commission funded development projects in European Neighbourhood Policy countries. We won two Twinning project tenders: one to develop higher education in Armenia in accordance with the Bologna Process and the other to bring higher education in Azerbaijan closer to the European Higher Education Area.

An Armenian church in the grounds of the Noravank Monastery. Photo: Hannu Apajalahti.

A special feature of the Twinning projects is that throughout the entire time that the projects run, the experts from the country leading the project live in the recipient country. At this moment, my long-term colleague Kalle Holm is living in Yerevan, Armenia and Reijo Aholainen, from the Ministry of Education and Culture, moved to Baku, Azerbaijan at the beginning of September. Both projects run for two years. My role in the projects is to be Project Leader and visit the recipient country four times a year to hold a steering-group meeting. In addition, I visit both countries in my role as an expert, as do numerous other Finnish specialists. Our junior partner in Armenia is Germany, and in Azerbaijan it is Estonia.

Behind the historic quarter of Baku WOW! Architecture can be seen, the fruits of oil and gas revenue.

Work in the target country means stepping out of the comfort zone, and it also challenges you to improve your interaction. It has also allowed me to get to know Transcaucasia’s culture, politics and history: the Armenian Genocide, the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the history of Oil extraction and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, where I gained perspectives on the conflict from both sides.

Airports have become familiar places. On a clear day there is a direct view to mythical Mount Ararat from Yerevan Airport. Photo: Helka Kekäläinen.



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