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7th Annual Midsummer 5K Run

This is the 7th annual Finland Center Midsummer 5K run/Nordic Walk which is to be held on Sunday, June 17th, 2018, 9:00 a.m., with start at Bartel Pritchards Lot at Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Pre-race packet pick-up will be at the Running Company, at Time Warner Center in Manhattan, on Saturday, June 16th, from 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Nordic Pole walking is noncompetitive and the walkers will leave after the runners. Instructions on proper use of poles at 8:30 a.m. by certified instructor from Hyva Nordic Walking. Nordic Walking Poles and Audio Receiver will be provided. Please bring a pair of headphones.

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The race starts at 9:00 a.m., the course will be a 5K loop of Prospect Park, arrive at Bartel Pritchards Lot for pre-race meeting beforehand at 8-8:30 a.m.

Participants will receive: T-shirt and discount coupons from the Running Company. Ekavi Boutique will donate a gift certificate as women’s First Prize. Men’s First Prize will be two custom shirts made with a special fitting at Woodies Clothing. At the finish line, participants will enjoy water and cheese sandwiches.

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Sovinto by Meritta Veilleux

Welcome to brighten up your November evenings with Meritta Veilleux. She publishes her new book Sovinto in Finnish and we will have a chance to discuss it with her, in Finnish. Don’t worry, you can still participate even if you haven’t read the book yet! Tervetuloa!

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Meritta Veilleux (also known as Meritta Koivisto) is a Finnish writer, screenwriter, director, and internationally awarded playwright. She has lived in Finland, Sweden, and West Coast of the US. She studied in Stockholm in the 1970s and 1980s and became an engineer and soon after moved to the US to study something totally different at Drama Studio London. She graduated in 1986 and then studied directing and screenwriting in California as well as other subjects at the University of Helsinki.

Veilleux has published two novels in addition to Sovinto: Lontoolainen rakastaja (2006) and Poissa (2011). She has also collaborated with MTV and Yle while living in the US, written a play called Privacy and written and directed a Finnish short-film Wrestling With A Bee just to start with.

Sovinto is based on Ingria and her family in the middle of WWII and proceeds from Vienna in 1938 to New York in 21st century dealing with topics such as losses and sacrifices, emphasizing the healing power of art and warmth.

“Sovinto on kuulas ja raadollinen romaani erilleen viskatusta perheestä toisen maailmansodan myllerryksessä. Tarinan keskiössä on suomalainen Ingria, jonka tarinan kautta näytetään viattomuuden menetys ja sodan vaatimat uhraukset, mutta myös lämmön ja inhimillisyyden voima. Muistamisesta, hyväuskoisuudesta, kohtuuttomista menetyksistä ja taiteen korjaavasta voimasta kertova romaani piirtää laajan kaaren vuoden 1938 Wienistä 2000-luvun New Yorkiin.

”Kaiken muun hän jätti pois, aivan kuin hänen muistinsa lehtiössä olisi puhtaita sivuja, joihin hän ei osannut piirtää lainkaan, ei vetää ainuttakaan viivaa, ei hahmottaa yhtäkään kuvaa niiden valkeille lehdille.”

Meritta Veilleux (Koivisto) on pitkään eri kulttuureissa asunut helsinkiläinen, kansainvälisesti palkittu elokuvakäsikirjoittaja ja -ohjaaja. Ennen Sovintoa häneltä on julkaistu kaksi romaania: Lontoolainen rakastaja (Otava, 2006) ja Poissa (Avain, 2011) sekä novelleja. Hän on toimittanut televisiodokumentteja sekä käsikirjoittanut ja ohjannut lyhytelokuvia, televisiosarjaa ja pitkiä fiktioelokuvia.”

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Healing Walls by Rea Nurmi

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Thank you, everyone, who participated in our event with Finnish artist and now writer Rea Nurmi! The atmosphere was warm and intimate and Nurmi talked about her new book Healing Walls and showed us photos of the colourful walls she has painted with patients of hospitals, retirement homes, and detention centres while guests enjoyed her lively personality and storytelling together with some cheeses, crackers, and fruit. You can find a recording of the presentation online on our Facebook page!

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“It’s no glamour work, I tell you!” Rea Nurmi is a painter who has produced and exhibited artwork since 1987. She divides her time between Helsinki, Finland, and St. Petersburg, Florida. She was born in Helsinki, Finland, where she graduated from the Structural Design Institute. In 1973 she moved to the US and worked as a designer in engineering firms in CT.

Nurmi’s journey as an artist began in 1986. She left her engineering studies and her work as a designer for a life adventure that took her travelling half-way around the world for several months: hiking in New Zealand, scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, exploring the beaches of Hawaii, and discovering Tahiti’s Moorea Island in the South Pacific. Inspired by her travels, upon returning home, she decided to devote all of her time to art.

Through the years, Nurmi’s paintings have been displayed in solo exhibitions in New York City, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Boston, Helsinki and many other locations. Her work has also been featured in galleries throughout New England, in corporate collections in New York City. In 2011 she moved to St Petersburg, FL and she teaches a pastel class at the OLLI program at Eckerd College main campus.

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Healing Walls features the therapeutic side of Nurmi’s work, which blends her skills as an artist with her love of vibrant colors and peaceful, natural settings. Her murals are designed and created to provide a liberating experience for patients, visitors, and staff in the clinical environment of hospitals and other medical facilities.

Hope to see you all that made it as well as those who did not in our future events as we celebrate Finland’s 100th birthday this year in different ways!

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Suomi100: A hundred-year-old Finland

 
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The Finnish Independence Day was first celebrated on December 6th 1917, after Finland declared itself an independent nation in the context of the Russian revolution, and it’s status as an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire came to an end. Gaining independence was the result of sisu and long-term efforts of Finns. As Finland celebrates 100 years of independence this year, the most notable year of our generation, it is clearly a big and very special year for us.

The anniversary year 2017 is a chance for all Finns and friends of Finland to get together. Tens of thousands of events and gatherings will be organized around Finland under the name Finland 100. The celebrations also reach beyond Finland’s borders; the big year is celebrated in several countries. Finland100NYC is an official Suomi100 project that celebrates this significant year in New York City throughout 2017 with various events.

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On a Summer Island in the Gulf of Finland

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence, with world-wide celebrations. Finland Center Foundation is proud to present the exhibit by Victoria Schultz: ON A SUMMER ISLAND IN THE GULF OF FINLAND; part of Finland 100NYC events in New York this fall.

Ms. Schultz often includes text in her photographs. The quotes in the six pictures on display at the Chase Manhattan Bank come from THE SUMMER BOOK, short novel by Tove Jansson, the Finnish-Swedish author, painter, and creator of the Moomin characters. (Available in English from New York Review Books Classics.)

 ©2011 Victoria Scultz, all rights reserved.

©2011 Victoria Scultz, all rights reserved.

“In August of 2011, I spent a week on Klovharu, a tiny island in the outer archipelago that dots the southern coastline of Finland. The cottage Jansson had built there is now an artist’s residence. While on Klovharu I read THE SUMMER BOOK for the first time. It reminded me of my own childhood summers on another remote island in the Gulf of Finland. With colored chalk I found in Jansson’s cabin I wrote snippets from the book on the bare cliffs. Then I photographed ‘staged but true’ moments with the feel of wind and sea and craggy rocks all around”, says Ms. Schultz.

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May Day Picnic in Central Park

FCF organized a traditional Vappu Picnic in Central Park. We had such a great time with all of you who came to celebrate Vappu (the 1st of May or May Day). Jukka Pihlman won the mölkky, congratulations! Thanks to all the participants!

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Food & Friends, Japan-Finland

Mar 7, 2017

Something incredible is happening in Japan: the women are living longer and healthier than anywhere else on Earth. They are eating some of the world’s most delicious food yet they have the lowest obesity in the developed world by far. Dojo restaurant in Greenwich Village became the scene of a Japan-Finland friendship event on March 5, 2017. Naomi Moriyama, the co-author of three books on Japanese cuisine, explained to us the secrets of Japanese home cooking. The talk was followed by a delicious Japanese meal!

Naomi Moriyama demystified Japanese home cooking and explained how easy it is for you to enjoy it right away! Naomi spent six months in 2015 in Joensuu, Finland, where her husband William Doyle was a Fulbright Scholar, and will sprinkle her talk with some of her impressions on the North Karelian cuisine. She is a Manhattan mom and author of “Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Children: Why Japanese children have the longest, healthiest lives – and how yours can too” published by Little Brown in UK in 2015 and Amazon Kindle in the US in 2017, “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen” (Random House US, UK, and 20 other countries), which was hailed by The Washington Post as a "delicious way to stay healthy”, triggered a UK sequel “The Japan Diet” and was a Wall Street Journal Best New Year Diet Book.  She has been a judge on The Food Network’s acclaimed IRON CHEF AMERICA TV program, and a guest on the US’s top rating TV shows including The Today Show, The View, and Dr. Oz.

Prior to writing the books, Naomi served as Chief Marketing Consultant for Ralph Lauren Japan, as director of marketing at HBO in New York, and as account executive at Grey Advertising in Tokyo and New York, working on the Procter & Gamble and Kraft General Foods accounts, and as independent US-Japan marketing consultant, serving multi-national corporations. She grew up in Tokyo and on her grandparent’s farm in rural Japan. Naomi lives in New York City with her nine-year-old son and her husband and co-author William Doyle.

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Any Partanen at the CSI

Sep 19, 2016

Anu Partanen presented her book The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life today on September 19th at the Centre for Social Innovation. People gathered together to hear her thoughts that inspired her to write the book. Afterwards there was a lively discussion on the differences and similarities of everyday life in the US and in the Nordic region.

Partanen is a journalist originally from Finland, now based in New York City. She has lived in the United States since 2008, and her work has appeared in the New York Times and The Atlantic. She also worked at Fortune Magazine as a visiting reporter through the Innovation Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University. In Finland she has held many positions ranging from managing editor to columnist, features writer to news reporter, lecturer to on-air commentator.

More at www.anupartanen.com. The book can be ordered for $19 here: http://amzn.to/2bTfrKq

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Christmas Glögi at Estonian House

On December 16, a number of Finns and friends of Finland gathered at the cozy bar Estonian house to enjoy some casual conversation and a glass or two of glögi. Johanna and Chris Telander (guitar) entertained us with Christmas music as well as Johanna’s own compositions for voice and piano. The audience, which kept growing as the evening wore on, joined in singing their favorite Christmas songs from books provided by Johanna who knew all the songs! Johanna was also accompanied on piano by Sean Ferguson and his wife, as well as Johanna’s brother Mikael Haavisto, an actor based in Turku, joined in duets with Johanna. This all made for a fun and varied musical evening and put us all in the Christmas mood. We are lucky to have such talent in our midst!

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Healthy Fun in Prospect Park!

Jun 20, 2016

Thank you to everyone who participated in or sponsored our 5th annual Midsummer 5K Run and Nordic Pole Walkathon - it was a huge success once again! We had a great turnout and participation, with plenty of runners and a good number of Nordic Pole walkers arriving for a beautiful day at Prospect Park. It was our first year inviting Nordic Pole Walkers and we couldn’t have done that without our partners at HYVÄ Nordic Walking. They provided our walkers with complimentary Nordic Poles as well as a thorough introductory lesson before the race!

Our two first-place winners, Zachary Howenstine and Jessica McEntee, came in at blazing speeds (20:18 and 22:30 respectively) and got their equally impressive first-place $100 Amazon gift cards prizes. All the runners were greeted at the finish line with plenty of water, courtesy of Nestle; yummy Finlandia cheese sandwiches, Finnish chocolates via Sockerbit, who also donated gift certificates to their store which we raffled. Thank you to Raiff for the gift certificate given to our biggest fundraiser, Helena Grönberg! We could not have done it without the dedication of Thomas Riggs, our race coordinator; the Finland Center, Kota, and NFCC interns; and  Suomi-seura (The Finland Society, Finland), Valmarin, and all of our other generous sponsors.

75% of the proceeds from our race will be going to support The Kota Alliance and its member organizations in their pursuit of gender equality and women’s empowerment, currently with us at the Centre for Social Innovation’s Women’s Lab, and through a future world center for women in NYC.

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The Story of the Finnish War Children

Mar 7, 2016

By Jaana Rehnstrom

“To the Bomb and Back”

The title of the book, which was recently published by Berghahn Books, refers to a game children played during WWII in Finland – after a bomb caused a crater, the children would run to it and back and see who was the fastest. Because of the threat of being killed or because of extreme poverty, some 80 000 children were sent to foster families in Sweden, where they stayed for many years. In the end, some 15 000 were adopted by Swedish families but the rest returned home. It was not until decades later that these war children began to tell their stories and to form associations to share them.

Sue Saffle stumbled across this topic while living in Finland in 2001. Since then, while teaching English at Virginia Tech, she has retold many of these stories in English for the first time. At Scandinavia House on March 7, an audience invited by both Finland Center and Scandinavia House, we heard many touching quotes (as Ms. Saffle was sidelined by laryngitis, they were relayed by her husband Michael). The audience also had many questions afterwards, and perhaps the truth is, as one audience member put it: in that situation, there were no good solutions. Everyone did their best: the parents wanted to save their children from the dangers of war or death from illness and starvation, but suffered from the separation just as their children did. The vast majority of families in Sweden welcomed the children and treated them as their own; although some children faced abuse. The return was also traumatic for many reasons.

One audience member asked who she wanted to read her book, in order to learn some lessons – and Ms. Saffle’s answer was brief and to the point: those who make war. We should not let children ever be subjected to such heart-wrenching situations. Tell that to those who send children and families fleeing war today.

Thank you to Scandinavia House for hosting, and Suomi-seura (Finland Society, Finland) for financial support!

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A Bit of Recap

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Nov 23, 2015

Ida Metsberg performed at Caffe Vivaldi on November 18th. She is a singer-songwriter from Finland, who came to New York to study musical theater only to discover she didn’t want to do it in the end. Instead, she turned to composition and lyrics. At Caffe Vivaldi, breeding ground for musical talent known and unknown, Metsberg expressed feelings sure to resound with the mostly young audience: love and breakup, homesickness, elation over being young in New York, and confusion over which way one’s life is headed.

She accompanied herself on guitar and piano, and although her voice and compositions are pleasing to the ear, it is the eloquence in the lyrics, flowing smoothly with the tunes, which remained as the most memorable impression of the evening. All the more so coming from a non-native English speaker and good enough to stand alone as poetry. One of the many songs Ida performed during the evening was called Time. You can see the lyrics below.

TIME

I was supposed to know by now
How to stand tall and hold my ground
And how to keep my head but never let it fill my heart with doubt
I was supposed to know by now

I thought I’d learn by 23
How to love someone fearlessly
But seems like everyone is playing a game they know except for me
I thought I’d learn by 23

Give me just a little more time
Tell me it’s all part of the plan
To get a little bit lost before we get it right
Give me just a little more time
No, my story can’t be done, there must be more
Somewhere down the line

I always thought that I’d feel brave
Chasing those dreams, going my own way
But lately all I seem to feel is more confused and more afraid
I always thought that I’d feel brave

‘Cause now I don’t know which way to go
But I got to find my home
Just got to find my home
I need to find my way home

To find more information about Ida, visit her Facebook page here. You can also listen to her songs at www.soundcloud.com/ida-metsberg.

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Brilliant Johanna Telander at Caffe Vivaldi

Oct 23, 2015

Johanna Telander performed at Caffe Vivaldi on October 21st together with her husband Christopher on guitar, Tina Lama on base, and Ryan Engelbert on drums. Amanda Yachechak sang background vocals. Johanna is a Finnish-born singer-songwriter who accompanies herself on the piano. She has taken a “mommy-break” after the birth of her daughter in June, and clearly enjoyed being back on stage. Her music with original lyrics touch on the usual themes of love and other emotions but she also has songs about the coming of spring and summer; as she said in an introduction, for Finns these themes are so important she probably has about 60 songs devoted to the theme!

Despite the cast being thrown together on short notice, all the players worked in sync to produce a rhythmic, vigorous performance with many catchy, but not too simplistic tunes. A tender, melodious song called Sielunpeili, reflecting on the sleeping child in front of her, was written and performed in Finnish just for this occasion.

 From left to right: Tina Lama, Christopher Telander, Amanda Yachechak, and Johanna Melander.

From left to right: Tina Lama, Christopher Telander, Amanda Yachechak, and Johanna Melander.

The unfortunate accidental double-booking shortened the performance, but the place and the intimate ambience is a true trait of Greenwich Village, and for the owner, Ishrat, receiving these players is truly a labor of love. We hope to continue offering Finnish talent in this setting from time to time but it is worth visiting any night of the week and weekend brunchtime to hear other New York musicians. See www.caffevivaldi.com for more info about the venue and www.johannatelander.com to read more about the artist.

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Finnish Artist #3 in Our Concert Series

Oct 22, 2015

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Concert series continues with Ida Metsberg’s performance at good old Caffe Vivaldi. Ida Metsberg is a Finnish singer-songwriter who moved to New York in 2012 to study musical theatre at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy but after graduation decided to dive into the music scene and focus on her own material. She has played at venues such as the Bitter End and Prohibition, and is currently recording music that’s to be released in 2016. Her music is influenced by the likes of Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson, and she focuses strongly on writing honest lyrics about her own life and telling her stories with a pop/folk sound. For more updates, you can like her page on Facebook and for some original music you can go to https://soundcloud.com/ida-metsberg.

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Finnish Artist #2 in Our Concert Series

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Oct 20, 2015

Johanna Melander, also known as Jozu Kristi, is an international traveler and freelance artist. Although she has lived all over and has called the US her home since 2004, she started her music career in Helsinki, Finland.

Having collaborated with professionals in Europe and the US, and working with Warner and BMG in Helsinki, Jozu’s career took shape performing in cover bands including jazz trios, disco bands, and big bands. Jozu also recorded solo projects for labels such as Universal Music, scoring a top-selling and most-played list hit single in Finland in 2003. The single was released under the name Ensimmäinen Päivä by Joanna.

You might have also caught her performing her own original songs in one of the many live music venues of NYC’s indie scene. Always looking for new opportunities to utilize her creative abilities, Jozu remains grateful for all those who have continuously believed in her.

www.johannatelander.com
www.reverbnation.com/jozukristi

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Olga Heikkilä & Kalle Toivio at Estonian House

Sep 19, 2015

Jean Sibelius, Finland’s perhaps greatest contribution to the world’s musical heritage, was born 150 years ago. In honor of this, concerts are taking place all over Finland and the world. While he is perhaps best known for his symphonies and his violin concerto, and, of course, for Finlandia hymn – the symphonic poem which is practically Finland’s second national anthem – he also composed many songs to texts by contemporary poets. Many of them were in Swedish, his mother tongue (one of Finland’s two official languages).

Olga Heikkilä is a Finnish lyric soprano with already an impressive international career. Educated in Finland and Denmark, she made her US debut with a series of Sibelius’ songs, accompanied by Kalle Toivio on piano in the lovely hall upstairs at Estonian House in New York City. The program choices offered a chance to hear not only well-known songs such as “Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings mote” and “Var det en dröm”, but also several lesser-known ones. Although Ms. Heikkilä was visibly pregnant, her voice was both strong and sensitive, and the collaboration with Mr. Toivio, who has been heard many times in this, his present hometown, was seamless. The evening ended with Mr. Toivio’s signature bravura performance of Finlandia with Ms. Heikkilä singing.

The audience appreciated the concert being offered for free, thanks to pro bono appearances by the artists, and support from Finlandia Foundation New York Metropolitan Chapter, Finlandia Foundation national, Suomi-seura, and Musiikin Edistämissäätiö (Finland).

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Midsummer 5K Run 2015

Our team and our co-organizations want to thank everyone involved in the FCF’s Annual Midsummer 5K Run as everyone’s help and support was crucial to the success of this event. The team spirit among the runners and volunteers was amazing. It was great to see the runners cheering each other on – the way it is supposed to be in an event like this! Our runners got amazing times. This year fastest man was Jyrki Ruohomäki, whose time was 17:22 and fastest woman was Johanna Kreuz and her time was 22:10. Congratulations!

 The fastest of the bunch. (Photo by Terhi Forssén)

The fastest of the bunch. (Photo by Terhi Forssén)

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, we were able to reward our runners with great goodie bags, sandwiches, and prizes. Thank you all so much for coming out and supporting women’s empowerment. Hopefully this will be a great Father’s Day tradition at FCF!

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A Finnish Concert in Caffe Vivaldi

Apr 16, 2015

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What a great start to FCF’s new concert series! We want to begin by thanking the Olli Hirvonen trio who played gracefully together and Caffe Vivaldi for hosting the concert. It was truly a great night! FCF will have a concert every month highlighting Finnish musicians and their talent to be held at Caffe Vivaldi.  Stay tuned for more information on the series!

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FCF's Annual Meeting 2015

Mar 24, 2015

Finland Center Foundation had its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 18 in Salmagundi Club. Afterwards we were able to enjoy a concert by violinist Leena Jaakkola and pianist Markus Kaitila in honor of the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius as 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of his birth. In addition to Sibelius, Jaakkola and Kaitila played pieces composed by Chopin and Grieg. The beautiful parlour was the perfect setting for the delightful concert. Huge thanks go to Leena Jaakkola and Markus Kaitila!

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Reconnecting in Helsinki

Aug 4, 2014

25 “Friends of New York” gathered at Café Carusel in Helsinki on the last day of July during the hottest summer in Finland in 50 years… Talk about global warming! Former FCF volunteers and interns, relocated American expats, Finns returned from years in New York, and other fans of New York rekindled old friendships, exchanged news, and got current information in Finnish about FCF’s Kota Project. Many others sent messages saying they were still at their summer cottages recharging those batteries that keep us going through the long winter! Seems like this event still has its place in our summer calendar!

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer, and remember to support our campaign at Kota Project: Making Global Voices Matter in NYC | Kota Project -’s Fundraiser on CrowdRise

 On the front: Kaarina Ederman, Anu Arponen, Meritta Koivisto, and Eeva Pinomaa. In the background: Roope Marttila, Keith Davis, Elisa Ranta, Eila Kaarresalo-kasari, and Heikki Kasari.

On the front: Kaarina Ederman, Anu Arponen, Meritta Koivisto, and Eeva Pinomaa. In the background: Roope Marttila, Keith Davis, Elisa Ranta, Eila Kaarresalo-kasari, and Heikki Kasari.

 Photos by Meritta Koivisto

Photos by Meritta Koivisto

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