UniPID has a new Board and Chairpersons

February 18, 2021

The UniPID Member Universities have nominated new representatives for the term 2021-2023. The new Board selected Tiina Kontinen (JYU) as the Chair and Niina Käyhkö (UTU) as Vice-Chair in their first meeting.

A new 3-year term of the UniPID Board begun on 1.1.2021. Each UniPID Member University nominated members and vice-members as their representatives in the Board, in addition to whom the Board includes observer members from the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and UNU-WIDER (United Nations University, World Institute for Development Economics Research). The UniPID Board guides the network's activities and the use of finances.

The new Board had their first meeting on 10th February. In the meeting, the Board selected new chairpersons for the entire 3-year term: Associate Professor Tiina Kontinen from the University of Jyväskylä was selected as the Chair, and Associate Professor Niina Käyhkö from the University of Turku was selected as the Vice-Chair.

The new Chair, Tiina Kontinen, is an Associate Professor in International Development Studies and coordinator of an International Master's Degree Programme in Development, Education and International Cooperation (DEICO) at the University of Jyväskylä. Her research revolves around NGOs, civil society, citizenship, and research partnerships, and is geographically focused in Eastern Africa. She has led several research projects and participated in capacity-building initiatives with African universities. She currently represents Finnish researchers in the Programme and Research Council of the Nordic Africa Institute.

”It is a pleasure to lead UniPID in a situation where the significance of global cooperation is widely acknowledged in Finnish universities. Collaboration in Africa, Asia or Latin America does not depend on a few interested individuals anymore, but is a part of institutional goals.”

The new Vice-Chair, Niina Käyhkö, is an Associate Professor at the University of Turku, Faculty of Science, Department of Geography and Geology. From 2003 onwards, she has been intensively involved in research, education, and development cooperation in Africa. Her research interests are on geospatial data and technology applications in the society, particularly sustainable solutions for landscape and land change analysis and land use and natural resources mapping and spatial planning. She enjoys working in the science-practice interface, seeking for societal impacts from geospatial research and linking with development cooperation and innovation development. She has led various institutional capacity development projects in Africa, and she currently leads the UTU Tanzania Team and UTU Geospatial Labs.

“I am looking forward to working in UniPID to advance global partnership opportunities for the Finnish higher education institutions and for our community members. This cooperation space is exciting and definitely calls for innovative individuals and solutions. We have many development challenges all over the world and universities play a key role in training next generation experts to make better solutions happen.”

The rest of the multidisciplinary UniPID Board includes well recognized academics from a great variety of fields and high-level experts of internationalization, with a focus on global development and experience from cooperation with partners from the global south.

A full list of the UniPID Board members is available here.

Header photo: Fabio Santaniello Bruun, 2017 on Unsplash
Tiina Kontinen's photo: Hanna-Kaisa Hämäläinen