Mari Herranen

Nordic cooperation in the Parliament

Mari Herranen works as a counsellor of international affairs at the International Department of the Parliamentary Office. The International Department assists the Speaker's Office, Members of Parliament (MPs) and various parliamentary bodies and operating units in international relations.

Mari's main duties are related to Nordic cooperation and the activities of the Finnish Delegation to the Nordic Council in particular. The Nordic Council is a cooperation organisation of the Nordic parliaments, which Finland joined in 1955. The Finnish delegation comprises 18 MPs, who actively work in the various committees of the Council.

Mari works as the head of the Finnish secretariat and she is the head secretary of the Finnish delegation. As the head of the secretariat, it is Mari's duty to organise the work of the nine-person secretariat as efficiently as possible, while also being responsible for other supervisory duties related to the secretariat, such as chairing weekly meetings and holding performance appraisals. She is also a member of the management team of the International Affairs Department.

Studies and work history
Mari noticed a job advertisement in the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. “I became interested in this job because I felt that it would give me an opportunity to utilise all the things I have learnt in my studies and in working life. My background is in political science, and in addition to that I studied European studies and languages. I also studied abroad for several years,” says Mari.

“After graduating, I worked as a trainee at the European Commission and the Brussels office of the Parliament of Finland in the European Parliament. After my return to Finland, I coordinated energy issues at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy during Finland's first EU presidency. I also worked for 13 years at the Communications Policy Department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. International affairs were strongly present in my work at the ministry as well.”

Interesting international duties
The Finnish secretariat of the Nordic Council is responsible for Finland’s participation in all committees and commissions and working groups within the Nordic Council. The Finnish delegation also hosts council meetings in Finland, convenes regularly and organises various seminars, meetings and trips.

Mari feels that her job is interesting precisely because it is varied. “I enjoy the fact that every day is different and I get to work with different kinds of people in an international environment. In addition to normal supervisory duties, I get to assist the members of the council in their work and prepare and promote various projects. The international situation affects my work directly. No two days are the same and that brings an extra challenge to this work.”

The work of Members of Parliament is very international, and approximately half of the Members of Parliament belong to some international committee. “Participating in and influencing international forums is important. Finnish views are defended abroad and the committees with their work can promote Finland's foreign policy interests and positive image of Finland as a country. International networks are important both to Members of Parliament and civil servants,” says Mari. Promoting the visibility and impact of the Nordic Council is especially close to Mari's heart.

“I am glad to be involved in such an interesting and challenging line of work. It is easy and rewarding to work with Members of Parliament. I feel that I am in my dream job,” says Mari.