The UP Diliman (UPD) delegation conducted benchmarking and consulted with experts on indigenous studies at the Aalto University and the University of Helsinki (UH) in Helsinki, Finland from March 18 to 25, 2024.

UPD delegation photo at (a) a staircase with a University of Helsinki logo and (b) at the lobby of the Design Building of the Aalto University.

The first meeting was held on the morning of 20 March 2024 at the School of the Arts, Multimedia, and Design Building of Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. The Ad Hoc Committee (Committee) met with teaching and research staff from the Department of Design led by Prof. Andrea Botero Cabrera. She was joined by Asst. Prof. Julia Valle-Narohha and Nathaly Pinto, a doctoral researcher. Five other members of the Aalto University Community joined the meeting.

The Committee presented three items: (1) the Arts and Humanities at UPD, (2) the Social Sciences at UPD, and (3) an introduction to the UPD Culture Bearers-in-Residence Program. On the other hand, Botero, Valle-Narohha, and Pinto presented their research projects with various indigenous communities in South America: Botero with an indigenous community in Ecuador, Valle-Narohha in Peru, and Pinto in Brazil. A graduate student also presented her research on sustainable fashion with an indigenous community in India.

Group photo of UPD delegation and teaching and research staff from the Department of Design led by Prof. Andrea Botero.

In the afternoon of 20 March 2024, the Committee went to UH and met with the Indigenous Studies Program group led by Prof. Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen. She was accompanied by Prof. Haata Guttorm, Dr. Outi Laiti, Prof. Emerita and a member of the Sami community Irja Seurujärvi-Kari, and Department Chair of Finnish, Swedish, Finno-Ugian, and Scandinavian Studies Dr. Terhi Ainiala.

At the meeting, the UPD Team presented the same items mentioned above in addition to the presentation of the pilot program hosted by the College of Music. The UH Team presented the Indigenous Studies Program and a brief introduction to the Sami Community, one of the major focus subjects of the program.

UPD delegation photo with the Indigenous Studies Program group led by Prof. Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen of the University of Helsinki.

On 21 March 2024, some members of the UPD team met with some research staff members whose areas of expertise include language studies, arts, and ethnomusicology. Everyone reconvened at lunchtime in preparation for a meeting with the UH International Affairs.

UPD delegation photo with some research and staff members of the University of Helsinki.

At 2 PM, Mr. Markus Laitinen, head of the UH International Affairs and Ms. Eeva Korteniemi, a staff member of the UH International Office Exchange Program Services met with the UPD Team. Both institutions presented their respective internationalization programs.

UPD Team photo with Mr. Markus Laitinen and Ms. Eeva Korteniemi of the University of Helsinki International Office Exchange Program Services.

In the end, it was agreed that UPD and UH will develop an MOU and ensure an active partnership through exchange programs for students and faculty members, and collaborative research and public service programs.

Other photos of the Committee at the cultural heritage attractions in Estonia:

Kadriorg Art Museum

Tallinn Song Festival Grounds

Vanalinn (Tallinn Old Town)