Immigration, solar power and security featured in World Village Festival’s talks | World Village Festival

Veikko Somerpuro

Immigration, solar power and security featured in World Village Festival’s talks

Press release

Tue 18.4.2017 03.00

The event, organised by the development co-operation umbrella organisation Kepa, brings together decision-makers, experts and influential thinkers to discuss society’s crucial challenges in the heart of Helsinki, 27–28 May. The festival’s topics include Finnish security, solutions to the immigration crisis, the US–Mexico border wall and success stories from developing countries.

World Village Festival’s programme features prominent decision-makers, experts as well as leading cultural and societal thinkers. Participants include Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen (National Coalition Party), Members of Parliament Juho Eerola (Finns Party) and Eva Biaudet (Swedish People’s Party), journalist Marja Hintikka, photographer Meeri Koutaniemi, author Katja Kettu and numerous civic activists from around the world.

“It’s great to once again see such a varied group of actors come together at the festival to discuss solutions for a better world”, said Niko Wilkinson, the festival’s programme manager.

The festival tackles the problems and solutions of immigration from many perspectives, including those side-lined in mainstream discourse. Discussions will dive into the effects of culture on integration and the expectations placed on refugees. A panel of immigrant journalists looks into the question of why their expertise is not utilised in public discourse.

”Finnish media outlets do not talk about what is really going on in places like Somalia and elsewhere in Eastern Africa. Journalists who come to Finland seeking asylum could help shape the portrayal of these places and give Finns a better understanding of Somalia, for example”, said Mohamed Ibrahim, who served in Mogadishu as a correspondent for the New York Times.

As President Donald Trump proceeds with his planned border wall between the US and Mexico, Kepa’s expert panel on Saturday looks into the effects the wall could have on the US itself as well as drug and human trafficking in Mexico.

Members of the European Parliament will discuss the responsibilities of corporations with regards to human rights and the environment. Straight talk is also expected from representatives of fair trade actors and the Finnish pulp and paper industry as they answer questions about what companies can do for a better world. Members of Parliament and Ministry of the Interior leadership talk about the security situation in Finland today and in the future.

”In addition, the documentaries and associated discussions featured in the festival’s programme give deeper insight into topical issues facing society”, Wilkinson added.

World Village Festival is part of the Finland 100 centenary celebration. The festival includes a photography exhibition by Meeri Koutaniemi that focuses on the inventions and achievements of civil society organisations over the hundred years of Finnish independence.

Solar power also has a strong presence, as it provides all of the festival tent’s electricity. Festival visitors can also get tips on how to use solar energy at summer cottages or at home.

The festival also features tips for fair travel, winter sport athletes’ thoughts on preserving winters and a deep dive into Latin America. The festival programme also showcases developing countries’ success stories. For example, the festival’s literary programme includes a look at Botswana, which is one of the few sub-Saharan countries to have no slums and require no development aid. Discussions and talks are accompanied by a wide variety of concerts, films and children’s programme. See the full festival programme at

Focus on civil society

World Village Festival is held 27–28 May in Helsinki at Kaisaniemi Park and Railway Square. Opening hours are 11–21 on Saturday and 11–19 on Sunday. Entrance to the festival is free of charge. In honour of Finland’s centenary celebration, the festival highlights the role of the civil society in building a just world.

The festival is organised by Kepa, the umbrella organisation for development co-operation. Kepa’s membership includes over 300 Finnish CSOs and it is an expert on matters of global development. The festival’s main partners are the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the European Union, Ben & Jerry’s and Maailman Kuvalehti.

For further information

Johanna Eurakoski
Communications and Fundraising Manager
johanna [dot] eurakoskiatkepa [dot] fi
+358 50 317 6698 

Press images on Flickr