The ambassador of Finland spoke at the Graduation Ceremony of the Vocational Skills Training Programme of the National Centre for Women Development on 18th February 2016. In her speech she encouraged graduates to use their potential to the full. She spoke about the importance of gender equality and education, and stressed especially the role of vocational training. Below is her speech at the event.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Students,
Thank you for inviting me to this event. The Embassy of Finland is indeed a friend of the National Centre for Women Development. We have been here many times before, at different events, including previous graduation ceremonies. I have had excellent cooperation myself with the centre during the past one and a half years that I have been Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria.
I am particularly happy to be here, as today's event is about two very essential elements of the society that I myself come from - and that are in fact at the very heart of our values and the whole way of life in Finland: gender equality and education. They are among the most important factors – if not the two most important ones – in ensuring that everybody has the same opportunities and can realize their potential to the full.
Vocational training deserves particular attention. It is crucial for any society and economy to function properly. As an individual, it can help you to develop, to make the most of your talent and potential, and to take charge of your life. It would be important for more young people all over the world to recognize the value of vocational education and training for themselves and for their societies. I have been very pleased to see that in Finland it is actually quite popular.
Clearly there are many of you here today, who have seen the importance of vocational education and training, have taken charge of your lives, and are working hard to advance your skills and opportunities - and are at the same time doing a great service to your country. Nigerian youth, and young women in particular, have impressed me during my time here. With you, the future of this country is in good hands. I want to congratulate all of you today on your achievement and effort – of course also the men along with the women that are graduating today.
And finally, if you allow me to use this opportunity and platform, I would like to conclude with two messages of a more general, in fact universally applicable nature: firstly – be confident about you capabilities, with hard work you can reach the highest goals in life. And secondly - as women, we should always remember to work together and support each other - together we are much stronger than alone.
I thank you for your attention.