Finnish President Sauli Niinistö enjoyed an easier-than-usual day on Wednesday by sharing his duties with a 16-year-old in an initiative to advance girls’ rights.
“It’s the best thing I’ve tried in a long time,” said Nila Salminen. France Press agency On the doorstep of the presidential palace in Helsinki, after spending the day meeting politicians and speaking at a global conference on climate action.
Salminen has been chosen by the charity Plan International to work alongside the president on its #GirlsTakeover campaign, in which teens from all over the world take the reins of politics or business for a day.
This year’s campaign, which takes place ahead of UN Girls’ Day on October 11, envisages young women as Ugandan minister of education, member of the Swiss Federal Council, and CEOs of several major Indonesian companies, among others.
Salminen said her message for older adults is to get to know the potential of girls better and involve them more in policymaking.
“It is unfair for officials to make decisions that affect me so much without asking for the opinion of my generation,” he said.
Salminen also spoke to the president about the impact of false information online. Salminin told France Press agency.
The role of the president in Finland is fairly formal, although he also oversees foreign policy – with the exception of EU affairs – and directs the armed forces.
“I think being president has its ups and downs,” Salminin stressed. “It’s a really tough job, but it’s so much fun.”
The 16-year-old doesn’t rule out running for Finland’s top office when she grows up. “My dream is to change the world and to be a diplomat or even a president one day,” she said. “I can’t promise anything, but we’ll see!”
“Award-winning zombie scholar. Music practitioner. Food expert. Troublemaker.”