Development Co-operation Project Strengthens the Ties between the University of Turku and Peruvian Universities
​The final seminar of the FINPE project was organised in Lima on 16-17 September. On the left, Pia Le Grand (International Office of the University of Turku) and Ilari E. Sääksjärvi (Department of Biology).

​A mobility project that has been successfully in operation for ten years, FINPE (Finland-Peru), has come to its conclusion. The project was closely connected to the activities of the University of Turku Amazon Research Team (UTU-ART) in the Andes and in the Western Amazon Basin.

The FINPE project was financed by the North-South-South programme of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The programme supported co-operation projects between universities in Finland and in developing countries through student and teacher exchanges. The project was coordinated by the University of Turku and had three Peruvian partner universities.

– The University of Turku is a leading expert among European universities concerning research on Amazonia, which affected the emergence of the project, says Ilari E. Sääksjärvi, the Academic Coordinator of the project from the Department of Biology.

Altogether 66 students and 22 teachers took part in the exchanges under the project. They have been mainly biologists and geographers, but many of the teachers involved have also been from food sciences.

– Some of the Peruvians have returned to Finland after their exchange period to pursue their studies, and have graduated with a master’s degree or even completed a doctoral degree. After returning to their home country, they keep in contact with the networks they created in Finland and make Finnish education known abroad, outlines Pia Le Grand who is the Administrative Coordinator of the project at the International Office of the University of Turku.

The Project Promoted a Good Image of Finland

The FINPE project was launched in 2004 with the first students beginning their exchange period the following year.

However, with the end of the North-South-South programme in 2015, also the project came to an end. Le Grand supposes, however, that co-operation between Finland and Peru will continue.

– Different sources for funding are being sought both here and in Peru. When we’ve come this far, there is no point in stopping.

Sääksjärvi, who is of the same opinion, believes strongly in the significance of exchange contacts. According to him, the career of a researcher is often built upon contacts created already during studies. The importance of the network created in the span of ten years should therefore not be understated.

– It is an asset that will benefit the University of Turku. Finland is well-known in the Peruvian academic world. Finnish experts are heeded and they are taken seriously.

This appreciation was visible in the final seminar organised in Lima, the capital of Peru, on 16-17 September, where previous exchange students talked about their experiences in Finland and how studying at the University of Turku has affected their lives.  According to Sääksjärvi, an overall satisfaction with the University of Turku came across during the seminar.

>> The FINPE project

>>Isrrael Gómez’s experiences of the project and studying in Finland (in Finnish/Spanish)

>> Read about the project’s final seminar at the National Agrarian University in La Molina (in Spanish)

Text: Ilkka Hemmilä
Photo: Juan Malaver Villanueva, UNALM
Translation: Lassi Yli-Muilu

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Published date 10/16/2015 2:50 PM ,  Modified date 10/16/2015 3:09 PM

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