Helsinki (HAN) March 24. 2016. Public Diplomacy and Regional Security News. The Eritrean Minister of Education, Semere Russom, and his delegation visited Finland this week at the invitation of Finn Church Aid (FCA). Minister Russom had meetings with Finnish education officials, representatives of Finnish universities and other actors from the education sector. The Minister also visited the vocational education provider Omnia, and the Saunalahti primary school in Espoo. Finn Church Aid is supporting the development of teacher training in Eritrea.
Semere Russom, Eritrean Minister of Education.
“Many Finnish pedagogic practices are applicable to Eritrean schools. For example team teaching, special needs education and more individualised vocational training”, said Minister Russom.
“I was also impressed by the cooperation between the teachers, school management and the parents. Both teachers and students are supported on many levels.”
The Eritrean delegation also had meetings with the Minister of Education and Culture,Sanni Grahn-Laasonen; the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lenita Toivakka, and Member of Parliament and Special Representative Pekka Haavisto.
On Wednesday, Minister Russom spoke at an international conference on Finnish and Eritrean cooperation for quality learning.
“Education is the cornerstone of all economic and social development”, Minister Russom emphasised.
The seminar was organised jointly by Finn Church Aid, CIMO, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Finnish Ministry of Education.
Developing teacher training together
The shared goal of FCA and the State of Eritrea is to develop the nation’s education sector. Strengthening teacher training is of particular strategic importance in that process.
“Cooperation has begun well”, said Minister Russom. “In less than eighteen months we have achieved concrete results. The measures we have taken are progressing well and are already bearing fruit.”
Eritrea has substantial challenges in offering children and youth opportunities for quality education, and in providing the youth with skills that will help them find employment.
“Next, we will look into how we can together develop vocational training. Learning vocational skills has a direct effect in how young people view their future. This goes for youth both here in Finland and in Eritrea”, says Jouni Hemberg, FCA Executive Director.
FCA is working in cooperation with Eritrean teacher training institutions and education officials to develop the capacities of teachers and teacher trainers to ensure that Eritrean children and youth have the opportunity to learn with professional and motivated teachers. FCA is also supporting the establishment of Eritrea’s first national innovation centre.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."