The Assistant of International Affairs at the Regional Council of Kainuu hopes people will remember the Kainuu Chairmanship from practical solutions and from bringing people together.
– I didn’t plan to work with Barents issues but my Barents career found me.
Minna Mustonen has been working for the Regional Council of Kainuu since 2013 with changing responsibilities. After some personnel changes she was nominated Assistant of International Affairs. After the start of Kainuu Chairmanship Barents issues naturally formed a part of her responsibilities. In the beginning Barents issues were quite new to her and she had to learn things quickly.
– I think bringing in a fresh perspective to the cooperation has been beneficial as well, since I have been able to bring up some points to discuss and to ask some good questions during my orientation process.
The tasks of the Assistant of International Affairs include assisting in practically anything that has to do with international issues in Kainuu. One day Minna may be working on the websites, the next day preparing agendas for Barents meetings, arranging events or drafting a funding application or a payment request for a project, and maybe publishing a post on social media every now and then.
– As I see it, I am a handyman of a kind at the moment, helping the regional chairs of RC and BRC in anything related to Barents issues. I don’t have authority to decide on many matters on my own, but I can affect the practical details a lot.
Kainuu has been the Chairman of the BRC for one year now, and the variety of people and organizations involved in the Barents cooperation and the complexity of it all have become familiar to Minna.
– People are alike everywhere, and the Barents member regions have, to a large extent, similar conditions and problems to face. Yet it is such a multifaceted task to involve all the actors in the various fields, to guarantee information flow among each party and to organise everything in such a way that the joint goals can be achieved in practice.
Minna hopes that people will remember the Kainuu Chairmanship from practical solutions and from bringing people together.
– We aren’t such a big region with big resources to spend, but we have the will, so we will find a way.
Text and photos: Johanna Westerlund