Elina Auri

Chief Specialist, Secretary-General of the parliamentary Island Committee (SANK)

Elina Auri works as Chief Specialist in archipelago affairs and as Secretary-General of the parliamentary Island Committee (SANK).

Auri majored in Finnish history and her Master’s thesis already touched on her future career, as it dealt with the automation of lighthouses and its impact on the archipelago and archipelago culture. Her minor subjects, political science and economics, also support her work at the Ministry. 

Before taking this position, Auri worked for around ten years as a consultant, and prior to that she worked with archipelago issues at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. “In a way this is familiar territory for me, although a lot has certainly changed in ten years,” she says.

Seeing things first hand as they happen

“The best thing about working at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is being able to see things happen first hand. That makes me feel like I’m doing something really significant. Another great thing is the amazing expertise of all the people here!”

Auri says that all of the choices she has made throughout her career have had something to do with the archipelago and related questions. Gradually, her path led to this position. “I find my work extremely motivating, since I am able to work with topics I consider meaningful and important. Archipelago issues affect many people, especially when you consider waterways and leisure-time residents, too. And a lot of people have cabins there! People usually have very positive associations with the area.”

A very important player in Finland’s archipelago policy is the parliamentary Island Committee, in which Auri holds the position of Secretary-General. The Committee meets around eight times a year and includes representatives from island municipalities and associations. The Committee works to ensure that decision-making and activities are in compliance with the Island Development Act. It also exchanges information and highlights matters of interest taking place in the archipelago. 

The archipelago is a matter of the heart

The archipelago has always been of great interest to Auri. Her grandmother’s family is from the outer archipelago near Kotka, from the island of Haapasaari, and she has spent a great deal of time there. Auri and her husband are currently renovating a holiday home for their family in the same part of the archipelago. She has also been a member of the Finnish Lighthouse Society and worked at Bengtskär lighthouse. 

Auri feels she is currently doing the job she had long dreamed of. As a counterpart to her work, the family’s cabin project has already been underway for several years, but it is set to be ready this summer. Auri’s two young children keep her busy, but when she has time, she attends graphics courses.

Text and photo: Venla Tyynelä