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World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization


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H.E. Ms. Tarja Halonen - Finland

Tarja Halonen was elected the 11th President of Finland in February 2000 and assumed office on 1 March 2000. She is Finland's first female head of state. President Halonen was born in Helsinki in 1943. She graduated from the University of Helsinki in 1968 and has a Master of Law degree. President Halonen became a lawyer with the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions in 1970, continuing in this position during her political career as a Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister. President Halonen joined the Social Democratic Party in 1971. Her political career began in 1974 when she was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, a post she held until 1975. She was elected to Parliament in 1979 and held her seat in five consecutive elections until she assumed the office of the President of Finland. President Halonen has served in three cabinets. Her appointments have been: Minister at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health from 1987 to 1990, Minister of Justice in 1990-91, and Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1995 to 2000. She was also Minister responsible for Nordic co-operation in 1989-91. President Halonen has also played an active role at the Council of Europe, first as Deputy-Chair of the Finnish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly from 1991 to 1995 and later in the Ministerial Committee. She was also a Member of the Committee of Wise Persons of the Council of Europe in 1998-99. President Halonen has paid close attention to issues of human rights, democracy and civil society. Issues concerning social justice and promotion of equality have been central themes throughout her political career.

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 Updated 12 March 2003