Annual Winter Course on Forced Migration, 2009
Short Term Visiting Fellowship
Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury
Research & Programme Associate, CRG.
Her Visiting Report (11.03.10-17.03.2010)
My Seven-day Finland visit (11-17 March 2010) was a part of the scholarship pragramme of MCRG under the short term Visiting Research Fellowship in the Exchange segment between India and Finland. My trip was financially supported by the Finish Government. I was accompanied on my visit by Rani Varghese, M.Phil student, Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi and one of the participants of the seventh Winter Course on Forced Migration organized by MCRG in 2009.
During my stay at Tampere and Helsinki I focused to study on the question of ‘returnee’ Ingrian Finns following the landmark declaration by the Finnish President Mauno Koivisto in 1990. Against this backdrop my short research sought to analyse the role of identity politics in Finland. Identity became a moot question because there was opposition from several political quarters to the Ingrians, who started coming back to Finland after the declaration. Later on the opposition tried to make the law stricter keeping the cultural differences of Ingrians in mind. The members of the parliament from National coalition (conservatives) demanded that the Ingrians must speak fluent Finnish and they must have a good knowledge of Finnish culture and even Finnish identity.
During the trip we devoted most of our time at Tampere as we were attached to the Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI), Tampere University. For the sake of my study I consulted the main library of Tampere University, TAPRI library and the Institute of Development Studies (IDSA) library, Helsinki University. At Tampere I got opportunities to discuss the issue with the experts like Unto Vesa, Executive Secretary of TAPRI and Professor Jyrki Kakonen, Tampere University. They were kind enough to share their perspectives on the issue of Ingrians and the process of assimilation of Ingrians within Finn society. I met Dr. Arno Tanner, Researcher, Legal and Country Information unit of Finnish Immigration Service, who is also adjunct professor of Helsinki University. Arno helped me not only to understand the issue but also he introduced me to Mikko Nyman, Researcher, Finnish Immigration Service, Dr. Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti, Department of Social Psychology, Helsinki University. Dr. Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti is an expert on Ingrians and working on the cultural integration of Ingrians in Finland. She helped me a lot to understand how these Ingrians are accepted by the locals in Finland.
At Helsinki I had a meeting with Professor Juhani Koponen, Director, IDSA. He was kind enough to arrange a meeting with his colleagues at IDSA on 17 March. The meeting ended with a fruitful discussion on how to strengthen the collaboration between MCRG and IDSA. Marta Salokski, Researcher, IDSA became very helpful to locate the Centre for the Ingrians in Finland and with her help I was able to make preliminary contacts within the centre.
During my visit to Finland I made two presentations on my current research.
At TAPRI I made a presentation entitled
Living Another Life: Women Refugees in Relief Camps of West Bengal
held on 12 March, which was followed by an insightful and interactive
session. At Finnish Immigration Service i delivered a talk on
Threatened Existence: The Experiences of Muslim Minorities in the Post-Godhra
Gujarat on 16 March.
She is currently pursuing her MPhil in International Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi
Her Visiting Report (11.03.10-18.03.2010)
My visit to Finland from March 11th to 18th was part of the Scholarship programme by Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group under the short term Visiting Research Fellowship in the Exchange Segment between Finland and India. I was accompanied on my visit by Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhary, Research and Programme Associate (MCRG). The scholarship programme was funded by the Government of Finland.
For the duration of my stay in Tampere and Helsinki I focused on gathering insights on how Finish experts in the field Climate Change viewed forced migration induced by climate change in developing countries, and secondly the countries strategy towards dealing with the future floods of Climate Refugees as predicted my numerous reports on the consequences of climate change on human population. The discussions with the experts highlighted the general skepticism on climate change, the authenticity of the data generated and the validity of the future projection popularized by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. Furthermore I realized that subject matter of climate change induced forced migration is still at a stage of infancy, with sharp criticisms on the direct link between climate change and population displacement. Interaction with the Finnish intelligentsia revealed that it is still weighing the pros and cons of acting on climate change, it wonders if its steps to mitigate climate change will negatively affect the country’s economy. Lastly the interviews pointed out at the continued mistrust between developed and developing countries on issues of mitigation and ‘climate funds’ which hamper substantial action for a sustainable future.
For the purpose of my study I devoted my time at the library of Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI) and the Tampere University Library. In Tampere I had the opportunity to interact with Mr. Teemu Palosaari , Research Fellow at TAPRI whose work on Environmental Impacts of Conflict and International cooperation in the Arctic provided for an interesting point of contention on climate change. At the Tampere University I interviewed Mr. Eero Palmujoke, Senior Assistant in International Relation at the Department of Political Science and International Studies, he shared his views on climate change and adaptation, and gave insights into the Finish governments policy on climate change funds to assist developing countries. In Helsinki I participated in the ‘Leadership in Climate Change’ seminar organized by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs which saw eminent speakers like Mohamed Nasheed, The President of Maldives; Prof. Janne Hukkinen, Environmental Policy, University of Helsinki and Mr. Oras Tynkkynen, Member of Parliament, Climate Policy Specialist, at the Prime Minister’s Office. After the seminar I had the opportunity of meeting and interviewing Ms. Alina Pathan, a former CRG junior research fellow and an Environmental consultant at Gaia consulting Ltd.
my visit to Finland I presented my paper titled ‘Climate Change and Forced
Migration: A Conceptual Perception from the South’ at the Tampere Peace
Research Institute on the afternoon of 12th of March which was
followed by an insightful and interactive session on the topic.
I would like to end this report by thanking CRG and the Government of Finland for this unique opportunity which gave me valuable experience in the field of my research. I am thankful to Tuomo Maleso, Director, TAPRI for graciously extending an invitation to me. Finally I thank Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhary, for her positive encouragement which made this trip very fruitful.