- promotes the interest of all expatriate Finns, being their direct link to the Finnish society
Expatriate Finns are a resource for Finland. They contribute to make Finland and Finnish culture known abroad. They also bring with them knowledge and skills which they have acquired home to Finland. Expatriate Finns advance links between their home countries and Finland and it is important for Finland that this link stays strong and that expat Finns remain involved with the Finnish society.
The FEP was established in 1997. It convened to its 9th, simultaneously its 20th anniversary Session, in June 2017. Permanent secretariat to the parliament is provided by the Finland Society which itself turned 90 years durings this centenary jubilee year of Finland's Independence.
The FEP is a cooperative forum, where Finns living around the world collectively decide on issues they deem important. FEP is also a medium through which the collective decisions of Finnish expatriates are transmitted to the Finnish Government and non-governmental organisations. Moreover FEP is a lobbying organ which ensures the views of expatriates receive adequate attention in Finnish public policy decision making.
The FEP's activities are based on the initiatives or motions for resolutions made by the Finnish expatriate organisations, and on the subsequent resolutions adopted by their representatives at the parliament assembly session in Helsinki. It convenes approx. every 2½ years.
All Finnish expatriate organizations can participate in the work of the parliament. All that is needed is a ratification of the FEP by-laws. All expatriate Finns can participate regardless of whether they are holders of Finnish passport or not. Participation does not entail any financial responsibilities or privileges. The FEP is politically non-aligned. 531 Finnish expatriate organizations in 39 countries have ratified its by-laws.
100 children rise 100 flags, Market Square, Helsinki 5.12.2017
We congratulate you all for those thousands of events in over one hundred countries on six continets, writes the Finland Foundation.
Now as we moved over to Finland's next century, we can cast a look into the future. The media text for the Independence suggests that the link to expatriate Finns should be secured with legislation: Itsenäisyyspäivän kirjoitus 2017 (doc)
The Finnish democracy in an international world was strengthened on Tuesday 21. November 2017 when the Parliament of Finland granted right to vote by mail (letter voting) to expatriate Finns and to those national with voting rights who reside abroad the whole time of elections. With this historical change to the Finnish law on voting, the conditions of voting of expatriate Finns get significantly better. The Finnish Expatriate Parliament and its secretariat the Finland Society have campaigned for vote by mail for 17 years. The law becomes valid at signing by the President, on November 1st 2018, and will be in use for the first time in parliamentary elections of April 2019. More under What's New?.
The President of the Republic of Finland Mr Sauli Niinistö has made a video greeting to Finnish expatriates in Finland's centenary year of Independence.
The video can be used immediately. It can be shown for example in independence celebrations of expatriate Finns and in other events. The video can be passed on further or downloaded for example to expatriate Finnish Facebook groups or websites. The video comes with both Swedish and English subtitles, and the German version will also appear. Youtube and Dropbox downloading links here below.
The video greeting can also be downloaded from Dropbox. The size of the video is 383 MB, and file form is mp4. If the video is shown to the public, it is good to first download it to one's computer:
- subtitles in English
- subtitles in Swedish
Greeting from the President of the Republic in text (English): 2017_PRNiinistos_greeting (pdf)
Tasavallan presidentin tervehdys tekstinä (suomeksi): 2017_TPNiiniston_tervehdys (pdf)
Republikens presidents hälsning som text: 2017_RPNiinistos_hälsning (pdf)
The Finnish Expatriate Parliament convened to its 9th session, also its 20th Jubilee Session on 16.-17. June 2017, at the University of Helsinki's Festive Hall. Read more about the Session, submitted Motions for resolutions and the side program on the web page dedicated to the 9. Session.
A total of 74 Motions for resolutions were submitted to the Session. After the Secretariat had joined similar ones, a total of 55 Motions were left. After the Plenary Session itself sent one more motion to one of the Session's Committees, the 2017 Session adopted a total of 56 resolutions.
A total of 193 expatriate Finnish organisations came to the Session, sending between themselves a total 260 session participants (186 Representatives and 74 Observers) which was a third highest all-time turnout. All expatriate Finnish organisations regardless of their members' nationality or language skills are welcome to follow the FEP activities by ratifying the By-laws. Several new organisations make it to the Session by ratifying before 16.3.2017. That was also the final day to submit Initiative to the Session. Those session for participants aged 29 or under could apply for travel support to the Session.
Session program: 2017_OHJELMA (doc)
On 15. June the day prior to the session all participants were offered side program all day from 10 am onwards: festive Sermon, Senior Seminar and Suomi-koulu Seminar. In the evening at 6 - 8.30 pm the Secretariat of the FEP the Finland Society organises at the Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo) a Finland 100 Worldwide concert (entrance fee).
The concert linked the Jubilee Session to Finland 100 Worldwide which is Finland's centenary program for and by expatriate Finns.
On 16. June during the evening of the first Session day the City of Helsinki offered to session participants at the Festive room of the Helsinki City Hall a Reception in honour of the parliament session. Famous for their Sibelius interepretations, cellist Jussi Makkonen and pianist Nazig Azezian offered special program.
During the Session days we enjoyed adjacent to the Session room (University of Helsinki Festive Hall) at university Old Building premises photographer Karoliina Veijo's photo exhibition From Hanko to the New World.
- questionnaire about flag traditions of expatriate Finns
To celebrate Finland's centenary year of independence, the 90-year-old Finland Society and the 20th jubilee year of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament, we charted out the traditions around hoisting the Finnish flag. What does the Finnish flag mean to you? Where, when and how do the expatriate Finns hoist a flag? Should there be a special day in the Finnish calandar for expatriate Finns? Thank you to all who by 28.2.2017 answered the questionnaire. A summary is forthcoming.
Pitkäaikainen toive ulkosuomalaisten oma liputuspäivä esitettiin myös vuosien 2012 ja 2015 istuntojen päätöslauselmina. Suomi-Seuran toiminnanjohtaja Tina Strandberg totesi kirjoituksessaan Ulkosuomalaiset ansaitsevat oman liputuspäivänsä 21.2.2017, että Ruotsissa asuvilla suomalaisilla on jo oma merkkipäivänsä Ruotsin kalenterissa, mutta Suomessa ulkosuomalaisten merkitystä ei ole vastaavalla tavalla huomioitu. "Maailmalla asuvat suomalaiset tekevät suomalaisuutta tunnetuksi ja muokkaavat positiivista Suomi-kuvaa: he ovat ansainneet oman liputuspäivänsä. Liputuspäivä olisi kunnianosoitus ulkosuomalaisten tekemälle vapaaehtoistyölle sekä symboloisi kaikkien suomalaisten yhteenkuuluvuutta - asuinpaikasta riippumatta.” (www.usp.fi > What's new).
Did you know: You can order the Finnish flag (table flag, different sizes of pole flags), house pennant, pins and so on, from the Finland Society product service
2016 Message to Finnish expatriate communities on Finland’s 99th Independence Day 6th December 2016
The President's Independence Day Reception on 6. December 2016 photograph of President Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni Haukio
Finland 100 Worldwide homepage is open!
Finland 100 Worldwide is the joint project of the Finland Society (the secretariat of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament), Ministry to Finns Abroad (National Church Council, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland) and the Institute of Migration. Our project is also supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Finnish Seamen's Mission.It is part of the official Finland 100 programme, which is centenary celebration of Finland’s independence in 2017 for Finns and friends of Finland.
The aim of Finland 100 Worldwide is to encourage and support expatriate Finnish organisations and communities to organise in their own countries events related to the centenary of Finland’s independence and to provide information on Finland. The project gathers events worldwide (outside Finland) related to the centenary into a joint calendar of events. It also provides support and ideas to expatriate Finns for the centenary celebration. Likewise, information and moods about 100-year celebrations worldwide are passed both to those living in Finland and to expatriate Finns.
* Welcome also to Finland 100 Worldwide Facebook page.
The 9th Session of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament on 16.-17. June 2017 at the University of Helsinki old main building is also its 20th Jubilee Session. It moreover takes place during what is the 90th jubilee anniversary year of its secretariat the Finland Society.
The jubilee session is also linked to Finland's centenary celebrations: on the evening prior to the parliament session on Thursday 15. June 2017 at ca. 5-8 pm, Finland 100 Years Worldwide organizes at a magnificent location in Helsinki a Finland 100 Worldwide concert.
...live approximately 300 000 Finnish citizens, with some over 242 000 of them with voting rights. There are about 600 000 first and second generation expatriate Finns who live abroad. In case we take into account the third and subsequent generations, their number rises to well over 1,6 million.
This careful, that is, with certainty under-estimated figure of Finns living abroad is based on country specific statistics from 28 example countries. The statistics mostly date from years 2010-2014 and differ mutually from each others; for example in US statistics several generations can announce Finn as their ethnic background (2011: 650 000), and in Sweden statistics calculate 1.-3. generations (2013: 711 000), while instead figures in Great Britain only feature Finnish nationals (2014: 14 000). These estimates are hence safe to use since they are based on official statistics.
Thank you to all the 125 expatriate Finnish organisations from 21 countries which participated in the 8. assembly session of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament on 22.-23. May 2015, at the University of Helsinki old main building. They sent 140 representatives and 47 official observers.
The complete resolution compilation or all the 41 resolutions adopted by the Session, together with Introduction by Speakers' Council, were on 27. October 2015 handed to State Secretary Ms Paula Lehtomäki who stood in for Primer Minister Mr Juha Sipilä. From the PM's office, the resolutions are sent a round of commentary in the Government. You can read and download for printing the resolution compilation in English, Finnish or Swedish here: Istunto 2015 (link also on the left). There you can read more about the 2015 Session and you find there also the Session's meeting minutes which contain as attachments the speeches, participant list, and short decisions of the adopted resolutions.
These and the resolutions of all preceding Sessions are here: Ulkosuomalaisparlamentin päätöslauselmat. The Secretariat is also pleased to assist (contact details below).
The resolutions form a powerful oice of expatriate Finns to Finland's decision makers.
How does the FEP function in its present work for expatriate Finnish organisations, in advancing interests of expatriate Finns? What wishes for the future? Which matters are important for expatriate Finns? How do the parliamentary plenary sessions function? Feedback was asked also about information and communication. Your can read about the results of the FEP Member Survey 2014 in What's new section.