Director General Heinonen receives honorary doctorate


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Olli-Pekka Heinonen has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Faculty of Education at the University of Turku, Finland, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to education and his long-term collaboration with the university. The Director General gave an honorary doctoral lecture online as part of the celebrations on Monday, 23 May 2022.


Prior to joining the IB, he contributed to the Finnish education system for over three decades, mainly through his roles, as Director General of the Finnish National Agency for Education from 2016 to 2021 and Minister of Education and Science from 1994 to 1999. His ongoing collaboration with the University of Turku is linked to the IB upper secondary education of the Turku Teacher Training School under the Faculty of Education.  

Olli-Pekka Heinonen noted: “I am overwhelmed to have been chosen for this honor. I started my career 30 years ago in the Finnish Parliament, supporting and helping MPs in matters related to education. Since then, the world has changed considerably. Covid-19 and the Ukraine war have shown how interconnected and interdependent our world is. Climate change, global inequalities, and rapidly increasing mental health problems will not be solved by a handful of elite scientists, innovators, or statesmen but will require the involvement of the wider public. That means our biggest challenges are also educational challenges and necessitate a global mindset”.

Globally recognized as a leader in education, the Director General is actively engaged with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other international organizations, where he contributes views on the future of education, including personalized and lifelong learning, the impact of technology and the development of educators. He is also a regular speaker in global educational forums.

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