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Jussi Niinistö

Jussi Lauri Juhani Niinistö
Born October 27, 1970, Helsinki

MA 1994 and PhD 1998 (Finnish History), University of Helsinki
Docent in Finnish Military History at the National Defence University, 2004–
Docent in Finnish History at the University of Helsinki, 2004–

Minister of Defence, 2015–
Member of Parliament, 2001–
First deputy chairman of the Finns Party, 2013–

Editor-in-Chief of the Vapaussoturi (‘Freedom fighter’) magazine, 2006–11
Chair of the Defence Committee, 2011–15
General Secretary of the Finns Party Parliamentary Group, 2005–11
Researcher at the National Archives, 2003
Executive Director, Association of Finnish Culture and Identity, 1999–2000 and 2001
History researcher in various projects, 1996–2004
Research assistant, 1995–96

Photo: Ministry of Defence
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by
Joe McVeigh

My best memories from the University of Helsinki

We had a small and close circle of friends, with which we had fun and worked quickly through our studies. I completed my Master’s in just four years. I didn’t take a student loan because I was working part-time through my studies. I had a lot of energy in my youth. I also participated in the student and subject organisations, but mainly in the parties.

For me, academic freedom was the motivation to study and later to begin a career in research. I remember the agony of upper secondary school, where the hours dragged on. At the university, the freedom to choose my own studies suited me perfectly. You could take book exams, attend lectures and do things at your own pace. Academic freedom encouraged me to study and write a dissertation on a topic which did not necessarily guarantee a future career of any kind. Freedom lit the spark in me to read, research and write.

People of course have differences so academic freedom is not perfect for everyone. There are a lot of people for whom the course model of studying works better. However, I like the central value in Finland’s humanist society in which we have the opportunity to pursue academic freedom and broad studies.

The 1992 Independence Day Torchlight Procession. Jussi Niinistö is third from the left in the picture.


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