The visit of foreign ambassadors to Kuopio generated new international contacts

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland expressed a wish to the city of Kuopio for ambassadors from foreign powers to visit Kuopio in January 2024. 22 ambassadors from different countries and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited Kuopio on January 17-19, 2024. The guests came from Belgium, Chile, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Canada, Kazakhstan, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Norway, Peru, Portugal, France, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

They got to know the companies, operators, educational institutions, and attractions of the Kuopio and Pohjois Savo region. The main destination of the visit was the Savilahti area in particular: the prestigious delegation visited companies, educational institutions and, for example, Savilahti sports and event center Luola, which will be completed at the end of the summer. The business life of the region was strongly featured and involved in the visit.

Culture and national defense

On the night of arrival, the guests were taken to Saana to get to know Kuopio’s cultural life and hear about the Kuopio Dance festival and ANTI Contemporary art festival, Kuopio-Tahko tourism marketing and the Kuopio250-anniversary celebration. After the introductions, they had the opportunity to take a sauna and a dip in the frozen lake. Fortunately, Kuopio’s winter did not frighten the ambassadors living in Finland.

“The guests were overjoyed when they got to take a dip in the fresh lake Kallavesi,” says Kirsi Soininen, marketing director of the city of Kuopio, who was one of the hostesses of the visit.

The delegation visited on Thursday Jan 18 in the Karelia Air Wing and in an exhibition presenting the art of Juho Rissanen at the Kuopio Art Museum. The guests were very impressed by the performance of the Karelia Air Wing. They considered Kuopio’s strategic location and Finland’s recent membership in NATO to be significant factors for the defense of Finland and NATO as a whole.

Companies making new contacts

On Thursday Jan 18 the program also included a business event, Kuopio International Day, where top companies from Kuopio, Iisalmi and Varkaus, as well as start-up companies in the health technology sector in particular, could present their activities to the guests. In connection with the event, a matchmaking opportunity was organized for companies and ambassadors, where new international contacts were made. In addition, on Friday Jan 19, the delegation was presented FinVector Ltd’s activities, and a visit to Lumoava Ltd’s jewelry factory was organized.

“Our goal was to offer important contacts to companies in our region and to help companies succeed internationally. The companies gave good feedback about the event”, says Jukka Pitkänen, director of business development services of the city of Kuopio.

At the Savo vocational college, the guests got to know different fields of study and new study facilities. Diplomats were impressed by the high quality of this free education and the modernity of the learning environments.

A cross-section of Kuopio’s strengths in two days

During the visit, in just 48 hours, the international guests got a very comprehensive overview of the strengths and success stories of Kuopio region. When Kuopio’s male singers echoed Finlandia at the end of the visit, there was a shudder among the ambassadors. The visit was successful, and the atmosphere was dignified, and still relaxed.

“The ambassadors have given great feedback about our trip to Kuopio. We were taken excellent care of, and the program of the trip was interesting. I believe that our visit will lead to further visits to Kuopio and many new contacts”, thanked Mika Koskinen, the chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with satisfaction.