Baltic Sea Region Forum 2023

15.6.2023 12:00

University of Turku, Educarium

Get to know the speakers of the 15th Baltic Sea Region Forum below.


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Kari Liuhto - Director, Centrum Balticum Foundation
Kari Liuhto received his Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow, the United Kingdom, in 1997, and the degree of Doctor of Science from the Turku School of Economics, Finland, in 2000. Liuhto was nominated as a tenure professor in International Business at the Lappeenranta University of Technology in the year 2000, and he has been Director of the Pan-European Institute at the University of Turku since 2003 and Director of Centrum Balticum Foundation since 2011. Professor Liuhto has been involved in several projects funded by the European Commission and several Finnish ministries. Liuhto is the founder and the editor-in-chief of one of the world’s leading discussion platforms dealing with the Baltic Sea region, namely the Baltic Rim Economies (BRE) review, which has been published quarterly since the year 2004.
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Minna Arve, Mayor, The City of Turku
Minna Arve has served as the Mayor of Turku since 2017. Turku-born Arve is a Master of Economics and a nurse. During her career Arve has worked i.e. as the Managing Director of Turku Chamber of Com-merce and as the Party Secretary of the Finnish National Coalition Party. She has also led a long career in municipal politics. As the Mayor of Turku, Arve has highlighted major issues such as sustainable growth, urban inclusion, the prevention of social exclusion, and new means of industrial and business policies. She has promoted international networks and co-operation, and serves as Vice President of ICLEI - Local Governments for sustainability.
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Markus Granlund - Dean, Turku School of Economics
Markus Granlund is a Professor of Management Accounting and the Dean of Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku. He has published widely in respected scientific journals and is an awarded executive educator. Markus has also been involved with a number of development projects concerning accounting and information systems in major companies and public sector organizations in Finland and abroad. He holds several positions of trust in the university sector, in research foundations, and in companies.
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Artis Pabriks - Director, The Northern European Policy Centre, Minister of Defence of Latvia (2019-2022)

Dr. Artis Pabriks is a politician, an academian, currently chairman of “Northern Defence Policy Centre”. Until recently he served as a former Minister for Defense and Deputy Prime Minister of Latvia (2019-2022). Previously he held positions as the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs (2004-2007), Minister of Defense (2010-2014) and was a member of the European Parliament (2014-2018). Dr. Pabriks holds a degree in history and a Ph.D. in political science from Aarhus University Denmark. He was the first rector of the Vidzeme University of Applied Science.

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Marko Palokangas - Lieutenant Colonel, Military Professor, National Defence University of Finland
Marko Palokangas is a Military Professor and a General Staff Officer (Lieutenant Colonel), at the National Defense University of Finland. Palokangas is the founder and the chairman the “Fog of War” research network. Palokangas has served in the Finnish Defense Forces since 1993 in various domestic and foreign assignments and career positions. He has published numerous studies, scientific articles and several books as well as writings on military history, military traditions and military skills, operational arts and tactics. In addition, Palokangas has appeared in various media numerous times as a commentator on the Russian war in Ukraine.
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Oleksii Arestovych, Former Advisor, Office of the President of Ukraine

Oleksii Arestovych was born in Dedoplitskaro, Georgia, in the family of a military man. He graduated in 1998 from the Odessa Land Forces Institute (combined arms faculty) and served in the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense (1999-2005), specializing in analysis of the military-political situation. From 1993 to 2014 he was engaged in theatrical, film and teaching activities as a hobby. Since 2014 Arestovych was volunteer in war and created the People's Reservist training system for military personnel (trained more than 2,500 people). In 2018-2019 he served with a one-year contract in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 72th brigade, Svetlodarsk Bulge and then Command of the Ground Forces, Intelligence Directorate, Information Warfare Department. Arestovych has got seven departmental and one state award. He is a Lieutenant colonel of the reserve of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, B/D participant and ATO/JFO veteran. In 2020-2023 he was an Advisor on Information Policy of the Ukrainian delegation in the Trilateral Contact Group on Minsk Agreements and a non-staff advisor to the Office of the President of Ukraine on strategic communications in the field of defense and national security.

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Andrzej Falkowski, Lieutenant General (ret), Senior Fellow, Pulaski Foundation, Poland
Andrzej Fałkowski holds Ph.D. in Economics (1997) from University of Gdansk. He is Lieutenant General (Ret.). Falkowski is a member of Defence Reform Advisory Board for Ukraine from 2018 and Senior Fellow at Pulaski Foundation Warsaw (from 2019). In the past he was i.a. the Polish Military Representative to the NATO and EU Military Committees in Brussels (2014-18), Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces (2013-14), Defence, Military, Naval and Air Attaché in Washington D.C.(2011-13) and Director of the Logistics and Resources Division of the NATO IMS in Brussels (2008-11). Falkowski is a visiting academic lecturer and senior mentor in Poland and abroad. He has published many articles on strategy and defence economics.
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Glen Grant, Lieutenant Colonel (ret) British Army, Defence and Security Reform Expert, Baltic Security Foundation, Latvia
Lt Col (Retd) Glen Grant is a defence expert with the Baltic Security Foundation based in Riga. He has served 37 years in the British army in Artillery in a wide variety of active unit and operational staff posts including tours of Northern Ireland, Army HQ and MOD. He was British Defence Attaché in Finland, Estonia, and Latvia between 1998 and 2005 helping the latter two closely with their NATO membership. He also served as a Branch chief in the NATO air headquarters in Italy. Glen has worked in over 10 countries on defence reform since 2010 for the US and UK particularly in Ukraine. He was the first foreign adviser invited into MOD in May 2014 and now advises their Parliamentary Defence Committee.
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Rasmus Hindren, Head of International Relations, Hybrid CoE - The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats

Rasmus Hindrén is the Head of International Relations at the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats and a Senior Non-resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council. He has served as Defense Counselor at the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C., Defense Adviser at the Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU and as Deputy Head of Unit for Defence Cooperation at the Ministry of Defence of Finland. He has also held positions in the NATO international staff, Finnish Ministry of Defense and the ministry for Foreign Affairs dealing with security policy, defense cooperation and planning.

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Patrik Oksanen, Senior Fellow, Stockholm Freeworld Forum, Member of The Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences and The Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences, Sweden
Patrik Oksanen is a Swedish writer and columnist specialized in security and defense. He is a regular contributor to Svenska Dagbladet among others and is a senior fellow at the think tank Stockholm Freeworld Forum and a security advisor to the green and liberal think tank Fores. He is also associated with the Centre of Total Defense and Societal Security at Swedish Defense University and a member of Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences and Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences. His latest book contribution is being a contributing co-editor to the book Russian Warships, go f*** yourselves (in Swedish, Fri Tanke förlag 2023) which is about defense will.
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Juha Pyykönen, Lic.Sos.Sc., Brigade General (ret), Security Analysis Ltd, Finland

Juha Pyykönen has current research focus on Nordic security and defence issues, including Finland in NATO. Recently Pyykönen has finalized reports on northern defence policies (; Prior to his retirement (Jan 2016), he served as the Chair of the NATO-based think tank PIAG, at NATO IMS C&RS DIV (1998–2000), and in the EU (2000–2001) to establish crisis management capability for the Union. As the Commander of Pori Brigade (2011–2014), Pyykönen led all the Finnish military crisis management contingents abroad. Prior to that he led the strategic planning of the Finnish Defence Forces.

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Petri Toivonen, Secretary-General, Security Committee, Finland

Petri Toivonen is the Secretary-General of the Security Committee under the Ministry of Defence of Finland (September 2020 -). The Security Committee assists the Finnish Government and ministries in comprehensive security matters. The Committee follows the Finnish security environment and development of society, in addition to coordinating the proactive preparation related to comprehensive security. Toivonen has a military rank of Colonel. Before the current post he has served in various roles within the Finnish Defence Forces, covering five different units, two crisis management operations, and the Office of the President of the Republic of Finland.

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Charles Clarke, UK Home Secretary (2004-2006), Co-leader of the Baltic Geopolitics Programme, University of Cambridge, UK
Charles Clarke was Member of Parliament for Norwich South from 1997 to 2010. He served as Education Minister from 1998 and then in the Home Office from 1999 to 2001. He then joined the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio and Labour Party Chair. From 2002 to 2004 he was Secretary of State for Education and Skills and then Home Secretary until 2006. Clarke was previously Chief of Staff to Neil Kinnock, Leader of the Labour Opposition and a councillor in the London Borough of Hackney, chairing the housing committee. He now holds Visiting Professorships at Lancaster University and Kings College London and works with educational organisations internationally. He is a consultant on international education reform for Cambridge Partnership for Education and co-leads the Baltic Geopolitics programme at the Cambridge University Centre for Geopolitics.
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Hugo Bromley, Research Fellow, Centre for Geopolitics, University of Cambridge, UK
Dr Hugo Bromley is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Geopolitics in Cambridge, as part of the Ax:son Johnson Institute for Statecraft and Diplomacy. His research covers both British political economy in the early modern and modern periods and Britain’s relationship with the Baltic Sea Region. He is the co-author, with Prof. Brendan Simms, of Britain and the Baltic, a Documentary History, 1600-Present, due for publication with Boydell and Brewer in 2024. He completed his PhD at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, on the relationship between manufacturing and English political economy in the early modern period in 2022. His article on trading companies and the development of English political economy, is to be published by the English Historical Review in 2023. Dr Bromley works on the Baltic Geopolitics Programme, as well as leading the Centre’s research on the origins and future of the UK Union.
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Videt R. Norng, Lieutenant Colonel, Head of Division, NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence, Lithuania
Lieutenant Colonel Videt R. Norng serves as both the United States Senior National Representative and Head of the Education, Training, and Exercise Division for the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence. He leads a team of officers from Türkiye and Lithuania. He plans and resources the organization’s education, training, and exercise activities in support of Allied and Partner countries to advance Energy Security Awareness, Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection, and Energy Efficiency in Military Operations. As the Energy Security Department Head representative, he is responsible for coordinating with NATO Education and Training Facilities, Allied Command Transformation Joint Forces Development Branch, and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Infrastructure and Engineering to certify Energy Security focused courses at the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical levels. Additionally, his team is responsible for supporting Allied and Partner country Energy Security training events by providing or assisting to source subject matter experts. Also, his team plans and executes the Coherent Resilience series exercise. 
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Chris Parry CBE PhD, Rear Admiral Dr Visiting Fellow, University of Reading, UK

Chris Parry runs his own strategic forecasting and trouble-shooting company, advising governments, leading commercial companies and financial institutions about geo-political and strategic issues, future trends and systemic risk. With a doctorate in organisational psychology, Parry teaches strategic leadership, future warfare and command psychology at universities at home (including Reading) and abroad and within corporates. Parry appears as a regular broadcaster and commentator in international and UK media and is an active author. Previously, he spent 36 years in the Royal Navy as an aviator and warfare officer. He commanded the destroyer HMS GLOUCESTER, the Amphibious Assault Ship HMS FEARLESS, the UK's Amphibious Task Group and the Maritime Warfare Centre. Parry also held three senior Joint and UK Ministry of Defence strategic and policy appointments. As well as sailing every sea, he experienced regular operational tours and combat operations in Northern Ireland, the Gulf and The Falklands.

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Kaja Tael, Ambassador-at-Large for Climate and Energy Policy, Estonia
Kaja Tael has held both diplomatic and academic offices and received a number of recognitions from different countries. She is a professional diplomat since 1995. Tael served as a diplomatic advisor to the President of Estonia Lennart Meri, Ambassador to the UK (2001-2006), Ambassador to Germany (2012-2016) and most recently Permanent Representative to the EU (2016-2019, incl. Estonian Presidency in the EU 2017). She is a Board Member of the Tallinn Office of Stockholm Environmental Institute since 2018. Currently Tael holds the position of Estonia's first ever Special Envoy for Climate and Energy Policy and co-ordinates the Government´s climate and energy diplomacy.
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Adnan Vatansever, Reader, Russia Institute, King’s College London, UK
Dr Adnan Vatansever is a Reader in Russian Political Economy in the King’s Russia Institute. His research focuses broadly on the political economy of energy and economic policy-making in Russia/Eurasia. His recent book, Oil in Putin’s Russia: The Contests over Rents and Economic Policy, examines the political economy of resource rent management in contemporary Russia. His ongoing research projects focus on economic rents in authoritarian settings, and energy security and energy transition in Europe. Previously, he worked as a senior associate in the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a senior associate in Russian and Caspian energy at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, and a consultant for the World Bank.
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Dariusz Zarzecki, Professor, University of Szczecin, Poland
Prof. dr hab. Dariusz Zarzecki is an expert in finance and business valuation. He is a full professor at the Faculty of Finance and Banking of the University of Szczecin and the head of the university's MBA program. He is also a co-founder and chairman of the Association of Business Appraisers in Poland (SBWPwP) and a court expert in the field of business valuation and lost benefits estimation. Zarzecki has extensive experience in the energy sector. He is the author of a chapter in the book "The Future Energy Consumption, Security and Natural Gas. LNG in the Baltic Sea region" edited by Kari Liuhto in 2022. He has authored many business valuations, feasibility studies, and due diligence and co-authored of one of the first economic analyses of the LNG terminal in Świnoujście.
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Ruslanas Iržikevičius, Editor-in-Chief, The Lithuania Tribune, Lithuania
Ruslanas Iržikevičius is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of the Lithuania Tribune news portal, as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of English section. He is also founder and former editor-in-chief of the English sections in and news portals. He earned a Master's degree with Honours in History from the University of Edinburgh in 2001 and worked at the Bank of Scotland before returning to Lithuania. Iržikevičius later served as a press and political officer at various embassies in Vilnius. He is interested in politics, security, information warfare, and transatlantic cooperation, focusing on the Baltic region, Nordic/Baltic cooperation, Russia, and Central and Eastern Europe. He writes opinion pieces for Lithuanian and international media. Iržikevičius is an associate of Visegrad Insight think tank in Poland and a member of the International Advisory Board of Centrum Balticum in Finland.
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Arnoldas Abramavičius, Vice-Minister, Ministry of the Interior, Lithuania
Arnoldas Abramavičius is the Vice-Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, his area of ​​responsibility being migration and regional development policies. He has previously served, among other positions, as Mayor of Zarasai District Municipality, member of the European Committee of the Regions, and Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions, Head of the Lithuanian Delegation. Abramavičius holds a masters degree in Public Administration from Mykolas Romeris University.
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Antti Hartikainen, Head of Mission, European Union Advisory Mission Ukraine
Antti Hartikainen has been serving as the Head of EU Advisory Mission in Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine) since July 2019. Previously Mr Hartikainen served as Director General of the Finnish Customs and held international positions such as Head of the EU Integrated Border Management Assistance Mission in Libya and Team Leader for the EU Advisory Group to the Republic of Armenia. Hartikainen’s career also includes more than 20 years of service in the Finnish Border Guard where his last positions in the Border Guard HQ were the Director for International Affairs and Deputy Head of the Border and Coast Guard Division.
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Juhani Hintikka, President and CEO, WithSecure, Finland
Juhani Hintikka is the President and CEO of WithSecure, a global cyber security company that protects tens of thousands of enterprises and organizations against the world’s most potent cyber threats. From 2011 to 2017, Hintikka was the CEO of telecom software innovator Comptel. He then worked as an advisor and independent investor to support different ventures in a variety of fields, including enterprise software as a service, IoT security, and artificial intelligence. Hintikka has been a board member for several listed and private companies in 2007-2020 in the areas of telecom software, aviation, enterprise software, private networks, real estate and construction.
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Ville Itälä, Director-General, European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Ville Itälä is the Director-General of OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office. He has a background in law and law enforcement, holding a Master in Law from Turku University. He was acting Police Commissioner and acting Town Prosecutor of Naantali, Finland from 1985 to 1988, before practising law in a firm until 1995, when he was elected Member of the Finnish Parliament. Over the nine years of his Parliamentary career he served as Chair of the National Coalition Party, and was appointed Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister of Finland. In 2004, Itälä was elected to the European Parliament, where he was an active member of the Committees on Budgets and on Transport, respectively, as well as Deputy Coordinator of the Committee on Budgetary Control. Prior to his appointment as Director-General of OLAF in August 2018, Itälä was a Member of the European Court of Auditors (2012-2018).
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Veiko Kommusaar, Undersecretary for Internal Security, Ministry of the Interior, Estonia

Veiko Kommusaar has lengthy and diverse work experience in the area of government of the Ministry of the Interior, with a total of 20 years working in the field of internal security. He has worked as district constable as well as a criminal police officer and has led a surveillance unit and the criminal police service in the Western Harju Police Department. He has also worked in the development department of the Police and Border Guard Board in the public space of police activities and as the owner and leader of the traffic supervision service. Veiko Kommusaar has been working in the Ministry of the Interior since 2007, having worked as adviser to the Criminal and Law Enforcement Policy Department, Deputy Head of Department and Head of Department prior to starting his position as Undersecretary. Veiko Kommusaar graduated from the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and holds a master’s degree from UNED University.

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Kirsi Pimiä, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Interior, Finland
Kirsi Pimiä has worked as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior since February 2020. Prior to that, Pimiä worked as the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman of Finland (2015–2020). She has previously worked in diverse management positions in the state administration, e.g. as a Director in the Ministry of Justice and as Head of Unit in the Government Secretariat for EU Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office. As the Permanent Secretary Pimiä leads the ministry's strategic planning, coordinates its implementation and supervision, and directs the performance management of the ministry’s branch of government. Kirsi Pimiä is a Master of Laws and LL.M. with court training.
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Igors Rajevs, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Interior, Latvia
Igors Rajevs is a Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia and Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Interior since November 2022. Rajevs has a 34-year long military career, serving at a variety of command and staff positions, including command positions at battalion, brigade and Land Forces level. He has worked also as a Deputy Director of the Centre for Strategic and Security Research of the National Defence Academy. Rajevs holds a Master degree (MSc) in Engineering. As a military expert, he has been analysing and commenting in the media on developments in Ukraine since the outbreak of the war.
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Grzegorz Poznański, Director-General, The Council of the Baltic Sea States
Mr Grzegorz Poznański has been the Director-General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) since September 2020. Prior to that, he served as a career diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, where he specialised in multilateral diplomacy and regional cooperation, including as ambassador to Estonia and deputy ambassador to Lithuania. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Warsaw.
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Ilkka Salmi, EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Council of the European Union
Ilkka Salmi started as the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator in October 2021. From January 2020, he was Director of the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Directorate at the European Commission (DG ECHO). He served as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior in Finland in 2018-2020. In 2011–2015, he served as Director of the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (EU INTCEN) and as Security Director at the Directorate General for Human Resources and Security of the European Commission in 2016–2018. He worked as Director of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service in 2007–2011, having started his career in the service in 2002 as chief superintendent. Salmi holds a Master of Laws degree.


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15.6.2023 12:00


15.6.2023 18:40

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University of Turku, Educarium

Assistentinkatu 5
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