Elli Aaltonen to be the new President of the Finnish Red Cross

Katja Tähjä
Elli Aaltonen is the new President of the Finnish Red Cross
Image: Katja Tähjä

The Finnish Red Cross has elected professor of practice Elli Aaltonen as its new President. Today’s general assembly decided that, in the coming years, the organisation’s activities will emphasise nearby aid and its development.

Elli Aaltonen, who works as a professor in practice at the University of Tampere, has previously served as Director General of Kela and Director General of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland, as well as the social and health counsellor for the Province of Eastern Finland. 

‘As President of the Finnish Red Cross, I want to make sure that the helpers feel up to helping. Volunteers are the gold ingot of the Red Cross that needs to be held onto. Respect for volunteering must be improved throughout society,’ Aaltonen says.

The right to nearby aid must continue to be safeguarded

The general assembly decided that from 2021 to 2023 the organisation will focus on developing its capacity to help, strengthening humane values and supporting the well-being of communities. It is particularly important to strengthen people’s access to help and their opportunity to volunteer in their local community.

‘The aid of the Red Cross is based on the ability of local volunteers to identify and respond to the needs of aid in their community. Finnish society has a strong culture of helping and caring, and it is important that this is maintained in the future as well,’ says Kristiina Kumpula, Secretary General of the Finnish Red Cross.

‘Now that the support of organisations is under review due to the coronavirus epidemic, it is important to ensure that the resources of civil society are sufficient to reach the people most in need even after the epidemic.’

Exceptional general assembly to go down in history

Due to the coronavirus situation, the general assembly of the Finnish Red Cross was postponed from June to September and conducted with remote connections at multiple locations. The representatives with voting rights met at ten different locations and were in remote contact with the presidents who met in Vaasa. The assembly, organised every three years, was condensed into one day.

The assembly elected the highest officials of the organisation. Ann-Mari Audas-Willman from Vaasa, Laura Musta from Helsinki and Harri Virta from Kaarina were elected as the new Vice Presidents of the Board. Otto Kari from Helsinki was elected as the Chairperson of the Council.

Outi Forsblomfrom Tikkala, Harri Jokiranta from Seinäjoki, Katja Kuusela from Espoo, Marju Pihlajamaa from Punkalaidun, Jarno Rasinkangas from Oulu and Ruut Rissanen from Tampere were elected as members of the Board.In addition to the Chairperson of the Council, other members of the Council and their deputies were also elected at the assembly.

More information:

Mari Mäkinen, Communications Specialist, tel. +358 (0)40 664 7779