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Markku Henriksson

Markku Ilmari Henriksson
Born September 4, 1949, Helsinki

Bachelor of Social Sciences, Master of Social Sciences (political history) 1973, Licentiate 1985, PhD 1988, University of Helsinki

Professor of American studies, University of Helsinki, Renvall Institute (now the Department of World Cultures), acting professor 1996–99 and professor 1999–2004
History lecturer 1990–99, Department of History, University of Tampere
Deputy director 1990–92, Revall Institute, University of Helsinki
Research assistant of non-European history (for several separate periods) 1975–90, Institute for Historical Research and Documentation (later the Renvall Institute)

Publication activities

Awards and honours
D.Litt. (hon), York University, Toronto, 1995
First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland 2004
Honorary member of the Western History Association (the first outside the US)
American Indian History Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 (the first and to date the only outside North America)
University of Helsinki Badge of Honour for long service 2013
University of Helsinki medal 2014
The International Council for Canadian Studies Certificate of Merit, 2014

Written by Olli Siitonen
Translated by Matthew Billington

On Policymakers and the Future

When it comes to the politics of the day, professor Markku Henriksson criticises the government for forgetting the University and at the same time reflects on the future of the country and his own role in the events.

“It is utter folly for the government to make cuts to education and foreign aid. These decisions make me wonder where I and my colleagues have gone wrong. Most of the policymakers have ultimately been educated by us.”

Henriksson also reveals that he feels bad when looking back on the low grades he has given.

“I have had the reputation of being a harsh grader, although I have perhaps mellowed with the years. I have felt bad about giving low grades. You take it personally and feel like you have failed at your job.”

Besides his strict requirements, professor Henriksson was also known in his department for his delicacies. He used to keep chocolate on the desk at his office.

“People would come to take treats, but the chocolate also worked as a kind of honeypot. For the price of a piece or two of chocolate, I received crumbs of information that often proved much more valuable than confectionary.”

Through education and academic cooperation it is also possible to create a better world. The friendships he has formed over the years make Henriksson feel glad, as does the fact that he has in his way helped people find each other.

“One of the best parts of my profession worthy of mention is that I have met some of the most intelligent people in the world, many of whom have been students.”

Harvesting oysters at Chesapeake Bay in 2012.


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