Expert Pitch
Aalto University

Experts from 2020’s happiest country available to comment on this year’s World Happiness Report

18-Mar-2021 9:30 AM EDT, by Aalto University

In anticipation of this year’s World Happiness Report launch, Aalto University has experts available to comment on Finland’s ranking and factors that make the country and its capital stand out, particularly during this difficult year.

Finland led the rankings of subjective well-being from 2018-2020 and the country’s capital, Helsinki, was named happiest city in the first city-level rankings in 2020.

Note: Finland is located in the Eastern European time zone, which is currently 6 hours ahead of US Eastern Time. Our experts are available to comment over this weekend.


Finland’s national ranking and COVID management

Frank Martela is a philosopher and researcher of psychology specialized in meaningfulness, happiness, and how organizations and countries can unleash human potential. His book A Wonderful Life – Insights on Finding a Meaningful Experience (HarperCollins 2020) has been translated into 24 languages, including French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and Indonesian. He has written for Scientific American Mind and Harvard Business Review, and has been interviewed by The New York Times and Vice News. Martela earned his first PhD in organizational research (Aalto University, 2012) and his second PhD in practical philosophy (University of Helsinki, 2019).

Martela also co-wrote a chapter on why the Nordic countries are constantly among the happiest in the world for the 2020 World Happiness Report and has recently co-written guidelines for successful COVID communications.


Helsinki and what makes a happy city

Marketta Kyttä, professor of land use planning, studies child- and human-friendly environments, environments that promote wellbeing and health, urban lifestyles, perceived safety, as well as new methods for public participation. Her multidisciplinary research team is currently focused on the place-based, person-environment research with public participation, using geographic information system methodology. The team has also worked on numerous real-life public participation projects in Finnish cities and abroad.


Finland’s successful COVID-driven transition to remote work

Matti Vartiainen, professor emeritus of work and organizational psychology, co-wrote the recent report on Finland’s successful transition to remote work during the coronavirus crisis. With his research teams, he has studied the nature of collaborative working environments in distributed, global contexts, as well as organizational innovations, digital and new ways of working, and mobile and multi-locational CO2-free work.


Finnish education model – what other countries can learn

Ritva Reinikka, professor of practice at Helsinki School of Economics, studies public economics, service delivery, education, health care, and the empirical microeconomics of growth. She worked at the World Bank two decades (1993-2013) during which time she was Country Director for South Africa; Director for Poverty Reduction, Economic Management, Private Sector and Finance in the Middle East and North Africa region; and Director for Human Development in the Africa region.

Reinikka, who has a doctorate from Oxford, also led work on the 2018 report Stepping up Finland’s global role in education for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.


Finnish welfare state and education system

Matti Sarvimäki, assistant professor of economics, studies social mobility, education and immigration in the Finnish context. He is a labour economist, but also works in other areas of economics and in multidisciplinary projects. Sarvimäki is also an associate research professor at the VATT Institute for Economic Research and earned his doctorate in 2009 at Helsinki School of Economics.


Role of taxes in Finland’s high quality of life

Timo Viherkenttä is a professor of business law with extensive experience in tax law and the economy. He was the CEO of the State Pension Fund of Finland (2015-2020), and has also served as Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court, as well as Director General of the Budget Department at the Finnish Ministry of Finance.


About Aalto University:

Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We build a sustainable future by creating novel solutions to major global challenges, and value responsibility, courage and collaboration. 

By merging three leading Finnish universities in 2010, Aalto was founded to be a research university that makes societal impact. Since then, we have quickly become a trailblazer in our key areas. We are renowned for our sense of community as well as for our culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. 

Aalto has a dynamic campus of six schools with 400 professors, 4000 other faculty and staff, and more than 11 000 students. Our campus is located in Espoo, part of the Greater Helsinki region, Finland. 

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