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Finnish know-how can solve global problems: Nokia chief

by Staff Writers
Helsinki (AFP) Nov 25, 2010
Finland has the skills and responsibility to show the world how to solve some of its most critical problems, the head of one of the country's leading companies, Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila, said Thursday.

Speaking at an event publicising a new national branding strategy, he said, "Finland is a country with strengths and skills in the areas where these talents are most needed in the world today."

Finland is a global frontrunner in peace mediation, clean nature, and education, but needs to do much more to really develop its international role in these areas, he said Ollila.

"If the Finnish public gets involved, then we really can do a great deal to strengthen Finland's image," he added.

Ollila chaired a national branding committee formed in 2008 at the behest of the government, which was worried about the lack of knowledge about the Nordic country abroad.

"The task was to create a strategy which would get the world to turn to Finland more effectively and more frequently," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

A 355-page report produced at the end of the committee's two-year mission suggests how Finland can develop its schools, nature management, and role as conflict mediator into strong national brands abroad.

The report calls on all Finns to participate, from grandparents passing on manual crafting skills, chefs developing dishes based on undervalued local fish, and the foreign ministry implementing an annual "peace negotiation day" inspired by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari.

The committee took out a full-page advertisements in 30 newspapers imploring Finns to read the report and take the tasks to heart.

Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb called the report "bloody brilliant" as he took official delivery of it and wrapped Ollila in a bear hug.

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