Ambassador Jari Gustafsson starts in Athens
Mr. Jari Gustafsson will start as the Ambassador of Finland to Greece and Albania on September 1st. In his introductory message he greets the friends of Finland.
Dear Friends of Finland,
One of the perks of life as a diplomat is being on the move. When posted to a new location, it inevitably also means the chance to immerse in a new culture and a new society. The operational environment for Finnish businesses, culture operators, and the science community vary from country to country, so the Ambassador must also be able to adapt to face new challenges.
There is always a promise of change when the Ambassador changes. Each one of us steps to our role through different career paths and equipped with varied experiences. Our interests vary, way of communication and networks might also change.
I know Ambassador Juha Pyykkö, my predecessor, already from decades ago, when we both served together as young civil servants in Paris. I am convinced that Juha's term in Athens has been, in many ways, an excellent time. It will make my arrival easier as I can start carving out my own term based on the foundation he has laid and the network of contacts he has created. For this, I want to express my gratitude to Juha.
I am arriving in Athens from Finland, where I have acted as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for the past five years. The Ministry has an essential role to play in shaping the Finnish economy. I have also had the opportunity to oversee a range of issues from the Finnish industry, innovation policy, energy to regional development. As the head of the Ministry, I have also been in charge of EU internal market issues and enterprises' internationalisation. Many times my work required me to balance between traveling for export promotion and, on the other hand, domestic matters. My background considered, the trips often took me to Asia. Before I began my work in Finland, I served as an Ambassador of Finland for six years in Asia, first in Japan and later in China. Years 2006 to 2009, I worked in London at the board of Directors of EBRD, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This gave me a first-row seat to the financial crises which took place that time.
I am arriving in Athens with my family. My wife, Anna, is a journalist and will continue her work in Athens. Out of my four children, three are moving with us. My second oldest daughter will begin work at a refugee camp in Corinth hosted by an international NGO. My teenage daughter and son will continue at an international school in Athens.
The corona virus pandemic makes this a unique time to arrive in a new place. Right now, the virus prohibits us from meeting with each other face to face, but I ask You to be patient until it is safe to get better acquainted with each other.