Alumni Profile: Kaisa Standish

Issued: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 08:53:00 GMT

I am a Finnish diplomat and I currently work at the Department of Communications at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.  More specifically, I am the Deputy Director of the Europe and Neighbouring Areas Unit and my work focuses largely on Belarus, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia and Ukraine.  Before joining the Foreign Service, I worked in a small NGO in Washington D.C. whose work was centered on interreligious dialogue, conflict resolution and research on sectarian violence.  After graduating, I also completed a traineeship at the European External Action Service where I focused on the EU's Eastern Partnership initiative.

During my second year at the IMRCEES, I studied in Kazakhstan, conducted field research in Kyrgyzstan, continued my Russian classes and interned at Transparency International's office in Almaty as well as at the Finnish Embassy is Astana.  I believe the best part of the programme is the fact that it offers so many different avenues to gain experiences and hone one's skill set, and of course prepare for the 'real world' after university.  In addition to improved research and networking skills, gaining expertise of Russia, Central Asia and Europe has benefited me in my current and previous jobs.  In fact, I believe my background in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union was a key reason why I was admitted to the Foreign Service in the first place.  Moscow's bolder foreign policy in the past few years has made it very clear that there will be demand for experts on the region - especially if you are from a country that borders Russia.