Concordia Language Villages: Finnish ambassador celebrates Salolampi anniversary
Pekka Lintu, the ambassador to the United States from Finland, told a group of campers and staff that viewing the Finnish flag flying on Midsummer Day over Salolampi Concordia Language Village was a pleasure.
Salolampi, Concordia Language Villages Finnish Village, celebrated its 35th anniversary Saturday. The Salolampi Foundation and Concordia Language Villages invited Ambassador Lintu, who flew from the embassy in Washington, D.C., to Bemidji to take part in the celebration.
Applauding the campers, ages 7-17, as they performed Finnish folk songs, Lintu said the work of Concordia Language Villages is important.
"Finnish language is not one of the biggest languages in the world, but the Finnish language has done well in defending its position," Lintu said. "We are proud that the Finnish language has kept on growing."
He said he had never before visited Concordia Language Villages, which is a well known enclave of language learning. He said he accepted the invitation to thank in person the members for their promotion of Finish culture and language.
During an interview with the high school language campers, Lintu described Finland's flourishing economy and forward-looking attitudes. He noted that Finland was one of the first countries to grant women the right to vote and hold elected office 102 years ago. The country was able to rise out of a recession and burst housing bubble about a decade ago by pulling together and reaching agreement among all political entities about recovery strategies.
He encouraged the students to consider studying or seeking careers in Finland as their language skills would be welcome.
"Finland today is a thriving place," Lintu said. "The economy and technology are doing well, so the possibility of working in Finland one day could be interesting. It's ranked as one of the best places to live I the world. Think about that."
Some of the technological advances in his country Lintu described include the development of renewable energy, mostly from biomass, that allows the people to have 28 percent of their energy needs met through renewable sources, as compared to about 2 percent for the United States. He said he is also proud of the embassy building in Washington, D.C., which is "green" sustainable construction that uses 50 percent less energy than conventional construction.
As a guest gift, Lintu accepted a Salolampi (Lake of the Woods) sweatshirt and a Concordia Language Villages nimilappu (nametag).