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Turku awarded the Ukrainians of Finland with the Multicultural Act of the Year

The Ukrainians of Finland association has especially promoted the status of Ukrainian refugees and their integration into Finland. The City of Turku chooses the Multicultural Act of the Year to highlight the diverse international character of Turku.

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– We are very proud to receive this award. We are all different and I hope that our differences will bring wealth and love to the world, says Olena Herasymenko, the representative of the Ukrainians of Finland.

The Multicultural Act of the Year has been awarded in Turku since 2006. The recipient of the award is chosen by the Turku Multicultural Council. The recognition can be awarded to a person, company, association or other community that promotes multiculturalism in an exemplary and tangible way. In addition, the recipient of the award must increase contacts and mutual understanding between the immigrant population and the native population, and acts without prejudice to promote tolerance and integration..

Support, community and nurturing of cultural heritage

Suomen Ukrainalaiset ry / Українці Фінляндії / Ukrainians of Finland is one of several non-governmental organizations actively operating in Finland. Founded in 2011 by Ukrainian immigrants themselves, the goal of the association’s activities is to unite and represent Ukrainians living in Finland, to maintain the cultural heritage of Ukrainians and to spread information about Ukraine. The association’s activities are focused on Turku and its surrounding areas.

The association offers, among other things, counseling and guidance to support the integration and employment of those who moved to Finland, it organizes diverse events and activities for people of different ages and supports Finnish and Ukrainian language teaching and knowledge of cultures.

– Our association’s message is that every nation and language is valuable, and every person is even more valuable, Herasymenko says.

As a result of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the Ukrainians of Finland has changed the focus of its activities on receiving Ukrainian refugees arriving in Finland and offering support to Ukraine.

Mayor Minna Arve hands over the award to the representative of Ukrainians of Finland, Olena Herasymenko. Photo: Anna Paulus / City of Turku.

In addition to currentness, the importance of community activities was emphasized in the selection of the Multicultural Act of the Year. The association has helped Ukrainians to become a part of homely community of Ukrainians living in Finland as well as the Finnish society.

Since November 2022, the Ukrainians of Finland has also operated the Turku Ukraine Center in the premises of the Integration Competence Center of the City of Turku. The purpose of the center is to bring Turku’s Ukrainians together and offer them and other immigrants freetime opportunities, information supporting integration, and the opportunity to study the Finnish language. The center also offers a place for encounters between cultures.

The multicultural independence celebration invites you to celebrate pluralism

The mayor of Turku, Minna Arve, handed out the Multicultural Act of the Year award on December 1st at the Multicultural Independence Celebration held at the Turku Voluntary Fire Brigade’s House (Turun VPK:n talo). After a two-year break due to Covid, the annual celebration could be finally organised as a face-to-face event.

The Multicultural Independence Celebration is an event organized by the City of Turku and several multicultural actors in cooperation. The idea is to gather people to celebrate multi-valued independent Finland. The party has been organized for more than ten years. This year, in addition to City of Turku, the event was organized by Western Finland ETNO, the Multiculture Council, MVKK ry, Turku Tyttöjen Talo, Varsinais-Suomen Viro-keskus ry, United Artists, Ukrainians in Finland, The Red Cross and the Bosnian Cultural Center in Finland.

The annual event is open to everyone and free of charge.