An official photo of Elina Valtonen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Fulbright Finland News Magazine

Finland and the United States – Key Allies in Security, Technology, and Cherishing People-to-People Ties

14 December 2023 • Text: Elina Valtonen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Photos: Lauri Heikkinen

The past years have strengthened the already strong bond between Finland and the United States. Finland’s NATO membership, the growth in trade volumes, as well as increased cooperation on both the federal and state level are just some examples of this. The Finnish government is committed to doing her utmost to solidify the bilateral and transatlantic relationship further.

As an ally, the Finnish government stresses the importance of strategic partnerships, and their role in our common security and prosperity. NATO membership gives us another opportunity to push U.S.-Finland cooperation to the next level. The negotiations on a bilateral DCA, a defense cooperation agreement, are one clear example of this. It is a key building block within our wider bilateral relationship.

The DCA with the U.S. will enhance the security in the Nordic region and deepen our transatlantic bond. Once concluded, the DCA will create a clear framework and conditions for us to cooperate in all security situations. The DCA will also help us deter and defend together, and contribute to wider NATO objectives.

It is not only trade and security that bind us together – it is also our fundamental and shared values of democracy. This summer, as we welcomed both President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken to Helsinki, both countries stressed the importance of people-to-people connections between our citizens at all levels but also the role of emerging technologies.

Our Ministry partners with the Fulbright Finland Foundation to help empower the next generation of science diplomats. 

Cooperation in emerging technologies has become an integral pillar of our bilateral relations, producing significant mutual benefits for business, research, and national security. Whilst emerging technologies offer great opportunities, without jointly agreed rules they can become harmful or even dangerous. It is vital that, as frontrunners in research, development, and implementation of emerging technologies, the United States and Finland actively work together to address security challenges, and drive the setting of international standards based on our democratic values.

Our Ministry partners with the Fulbright Finland Foundation to help empower the next generation of science diplomats. Overall, I am delighted that in the last couple of years there has been a steady increase in contact between Finnish and American academia. We have a good basis for this cooperation in place through the Finland-U.S. Science and Technology Agreement, our recent joint statements on quantum, nuclear energy, and 6G, as well as through active work on the state level with six partnership states. All of this is further strengthened by the work done by individuals in business and academia.

We also receive additional positive news when the United States announced plans to increase its funding to all Fulbright Commissions in EU Member States during the U.S.-EU Summit this October. The EU made a similar pledge regarding the Fulbright-Schuman program. This will effectively increase the number of transatlantic academic exchanges in the coming years.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs works in close cooperation with the Fulbright Finland Foundation. We look forward to further building and expanding this unique partnership. The Fulbright Finland Foundation already has an outstanding network of over 6 100 grantees and alumni from the United States and Finland.
I want to thank the Fulbright Finland Foundation for the valuable work done to bring Finnish and American academics together and thereby strengthening ties between our countries.

Elina Valtonen
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Photo: Lauri Heikkinen

Read the Fulbright Finland News 2/2023!

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