The Government proposes new ambassadorial appointments
Press release 43/2010
10 February 2011
On Thursday 10 February, the Government decided to propose to the President of the Republic seven new appointments. The President of the Republic will appoint the Ambassadors in the presidential session on Friday 11 February.
Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Ritva Koukku-Ronde as Head of the Finnish Embassy in Washington, US, as from 1 September 2011.
Koukku-Ronde has served as the Under-Secretary of State for Development Policy and Development Cooperation since 2009.
Koukku-Ronde served as Director General of the Department for Development Policy from 2005 to 2009. She joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1985 and has a broad experience of postings in both the Ministry and the missions abroad. In 1998–2003, she worked as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the Finnish Embassy in Bonn and Berlin. After that she returned to the Ministry and held the position of Deputy Director General of the Department for Europe until 2005. Her career in the Ministry includes also the position of Special Adviser to the Director General at the Political Department and Head of the Unit for UN Development Issues at the Department for Development Cooperation, as well as at the Department for Press and Culture. In the Finnish Embassies of The Hague and Nairobi, Koukku-Ronde served as Deputy Head of Mission in 1987–1990 and 1990–1994 respectively.
Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Hannele Voionmaa as Head of the Finnish Embassy in Alger, Algeria, as from 1 September 2011. The functions of the Finnish mission in Alger will thus be restored to an embassy led by a resident ambassador.
Voionmaa will move to Alger from her current position at the Department for the Americas and Asia, where she has been in charge of the Unit for Dialogues among Civilizations since 2008. She joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1981. Having served at the Department for Press and Culture and the Protocol Department, she moved to the Unit for Security Policy and Crisis Management at the Political Department in 2001. At the Finnish Embassy in Paris she has served twice, first as a Cultural Attaché involved in the establishment of the Finnish Institute (L’Institut finlandais en France) and later as Counsellor for Foreign and Security Policy during the Finnish and French EU Presidencies.
Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Per-Mikael Engberg as Head of the Finnish Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, as from 1 September 2011.
Engberg will move to Brussels from Tel Aviv where he has served as Ambassador since 2007. He joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1974 and has held various positions at the Ministry’s Administrative Department, Legal Department, Political Department and the Department for External Economic Relations. Prior to his transfer to Tel Aviv, Engberg served as Director General and Deputy Director General at the Protocol Department. He has held the positions of Commercial Counsellor and Deputy Director General of the Ministry's EU Secretariat. His career in the Finnish diplomatic service comprises postings to the Finnish missions in San Francisco, Beograd, Bonn, Vienna and Ljubljana as well as Stockholm, where he served as Minister from 2000 to 2003. Engberg has also served as Alternate Permanent Representative to the UN Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO, in Vienna, and as Alternate Resident Representative of Finland to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA. From 1997 to 1999, he served as Permanent Representative of Finland to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, CTBTO.
Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Pia Rantala-Engberg as Head of Delegation to the Mission of Finland to NATO in Brussels as from 1 September 2011.
Rantala-Engberg has served as Head of the Representative Office of Finland in Ramallah in the Palestinian territories since 2008. She joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1986. She has held various positions in the Ministry’s Department for Europe, Department for External Economic Relations, Political Department and Department Global Affairs. She was Head of the Unit for UN and General Global Affairs in 2004–2008. In 1992 Rantala-Engberg served as a Diplomatic Adviser to the International Secretariat of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, currently OSCE) and as Adviser to the Secretary of State in 1993–1995. In addition to Ramallah, her career in the diplomatic service includes postings to Vienna, Rome, Bonn and the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN in New York.
Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Leena-Kaisa Mikkola as Head of the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv Israel, as from 1 September 2011.
Mikkola is currently serving as Head of the Unit for European Common Foreign and Security Policy. She has held this position since 2007.
Mikkola joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1992. She has served in various positions at the Political Department, Department for Press and Culture and Department for Europe. In the diplomatic service she has worked in the Finnish Embassies in Budapest, Athens and Canberra, and at Finland’s Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels.
Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Asko Luukkainen as Head of the Finnish Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, as from 1 September 2011.
Luukkainen will transfer to Kathmandu from Windhoek, where he has served as Chargé d’Affaires a.i. since 2008. He joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1986. He served as Chargé d’Affaires a.i. in Kathmandu also in 2000–2004 and at the Finnish Embassy in Dar es Salaam in 1988–1991. In the Ministry he has held various leading positions at the Department for Development Cooperation and Department for Africa and the Middle East.
Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Sinikka Antila as Head of the Finnish Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as from 1 September 2011.
Antila joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1985. She will move to Dar es Salaam from Lusaka where she has served as Finland’s Ambassador to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi since 2007. She has held various positions at the Ministry which are linked with development policy. Prior to Lusaka, she worked as Head of the Unit for General Development Policy and Planning. In 1998–2003 she served as Counsellor for Development Cooperation and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. at the Finnish Embassy in Windhoek. In 1988–1991 Antila served at the International Labour Organization ILO on the Ivory Coast. In addition, she has worked as in the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives in Niger and as a free lance consultant.
Further information: Deputy Director General for Personnel Pirkko Hämäläinen, tel. +358 9 1605 5401