Celebrating 100 Years Of Finnish Independence: The History & Future Of The Finnish Language

>> From the Library ofCongress in Washington, D.

>> Grant Harris: Welcome,Your Excellency, distinguished guests,ladies and gentlemen.

Good morning, and welcometo the Library of Congress.

I’m Chief of the European Division. We would like to thank theEmbassy of Finland for working with the Library on this celebration of 100 years of Finnishindependence. And we thank all of thestaff members at the Embassy and at the Library here whomade.

Thatthe Library of Congress is proud of its approximately 100,000volumes from or about Finland. Among other things, we have anextensive collection of monographs on the subjects of the Finnishlanguage, which is featured today, as well as Finns in the UnitedStates and Finnish-Americans.

Volumes fromFinland or about Finland arrive at the Library each year. The European Division isresponsible for providing reference and for developing theLibrary’s collections relating. We hope you will come again toexplore the Library’s collections, and that you have apleasant. Now, for the inevitableannouncement — your cell phones, take a lookat them if you haven’t already. Be aware also that thisevent is being recorded for Library of. This is not a live event forthe outside, but eventually, it will be made into a webcast. It is now my pleasure to introduceHer Excellency, the Ambassador of Finland to the UnitedStates, Kirsti Kauppi. She came to Washington asthe Ambassador in 2015, but she has previous experiencein the Embassy of Finland. She was here from 1997 to 2000. Ambassador Kauppi has over 30 yearsof experience in foreign policy, and has traveled widely,starting from her native Oulu.

Area in northern Finland, which is nottoo far south of the Arctic Circle. With a master’s degree ineconomics.

She began working in development cooperation. Then, moving to the politicalside of foreign relations, she worked at Finland’spermanent representation to the EU in Brussels, and at FinnishEmbassies in Bangkok and Berlin. Madame Kauppi has been DirectorGeneral of the Political Department at the Finnish State Department. Most recently, she servedas Ambassador to Austria, and Finland’s permanentrepresentative to the International Atomic EnergyAgency, and to other UN agencies. Don’t be surprised if you meet herbicycling around in Washington, D. She is an avid reader,also, of works on history. She’s fluent in English,Swedish, German and French, so she could really take advantageof our European. We’d like you to work inour division, actually. After remarks by the Ambassador, we will meet our distinguishedpanelists and.

Hear their presentations, butI give you now the Ambassador. [ Applause ] >> Kirsti Kauppi: Goodmorning, [foreign language].

Very muchfor the introduction, and I’ll consider your offer. Sometimes my job as Ambassadoris quite demanding and stressful, and I wouldn’t mind switchingover to the Library of Congress, maybe, at some point of time. It’s — I’m very grateful to theLibrary of Congress, and, of course, to my own staff at the Embassy ofFinland, that this event has been — is now organized, andis taking.

Think the Library ofCongress is really something like not only a national treasurefor the United States of America, but actually an internationaltreasure, and the facts that yougave about Finland — connection to Finland andthe collections related to Finland are –.

Show that thisinstitution is very important for Finland also, and I think forbasically every country on earth. So congratulations for that, andwe are very happy to cooperate with the Library of Congress. And we are very grateful for theattention the Library has given to Finland, and theFinnish language.

The centennialof our independence, 100 years of Finnish independence,and our language is very much in the core of the nationalidentity of Finland and Finns.

Twist there,which is that we are — we have two official languages.

Only the Finnishlanguage that is in the core of the national identity. It is also very muchthe Swedish language, and the fact that weare a Nordic country. That is a big part of our identity. Finnish language is beautiful,difficult, very expressive, and I think really.

Quite an excitingenvironment to study, to live in. And the way — I mean, theFinnish language is a little bit like Finland. It’s almost like an island, whichmeans you have an environment where you tend to developsomething quite special, and quite differentfrom anything else. And I think the Finnish languagehas allowed that.

Kind of a — you know, a world of its ownfor Finns and Finnish speakers. And I think it also shows in theway the language has. Teaching the language, and studyingthe language is very important.

You know,history or anything else. Like, if you walk thestreets of Washington, D. and you don’t know anythingabout the history of the.

Buildings, or what has happenedhere, it’s only maybe 5% that you understandabout what. And that is a little bitthe same with the language. If you just hear it, or read it,and take it, well, maybe it’s more than 5%, but you really get a deeperunderstanding, and you can master — excuse me — master the languageonly if you study.

The history, the structure, andso on and so forth. I’m old enough to havegone to school at the stage when you really studied thelanguage in much detail. And I don’t know the terms inEnglish, but the way you had to study your own languagewas really quite something.

Think that is verymuch still behind the fact that Finns are very literate, and they not only canread, but they do read. And they love to readdifferent kinds of literature, and also. Reading is important,and that is the area that I’m very worriedabout also in Finland. People read less, especiallythe young people, especially boys, read less. And I think that’s going to have –unless we can do something about it, and I believe we cando something about it, that can have a very negativeinfluence not only on the — how we speak and use the language, but on how we understandthe world around us. Reading different kinds ofliterature.

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