Topic outline

  • State of the world and Development goes LIVE in 2022!

    Welcome to join 10 high-level sessions on state of the world and development! To gain the study credits, please register through SISU ( Lectures are open for all in Aalto!

    This lecture series  highlights the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development and explores the dilemma of development from various stakeholder perspectives.  80% attendance & assignment completion required to pass the course. Lectures will not be recorded or streamed. See course syllabus for further information.

    • Lectures from 12 September to 12 October 2022

    • Mondays (Otakaari 1, A1 - A123) & Wednesdays (Otakaari, M1 - M232) at 10:00 – 12:00

    • 2 ECTS (pass/fail) 

    • 10 guest lectures & 5 reflection assignments 

    • Course coordinator: Julia Sundman (

    LECTURES 2022


    Monday 12 Sep | 10-12 | Otakaari 1, A1-A123 

    "Dilemma of Development"  

    Distinguished Prof. Olli Varis, Aalto ENG

    Olli Varis is professor of Water Resources Management with a focus on water, environment and development research and consultation. His research concentrates on sustainable development and water resources management in developing and emerging economies, particularly in Asia. His interests are global water resources and their interrelations to sectors such as agriculture and energy, and in relation to drivers such as climate change, urbanization, poverty, environment and economic development. Prof. Varis has been active in several international organizations including UNESCO, WMO, IWRA (Vice President 2007-2009), IWA, IIASA and UNU/WIDER. He was the Vice Dean of Research and Innovation of Aalto School of Engineering in 2013-2018, Counsellor at the Supreme Administrational Court of Finland in 2006-2015, and he is Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.    

    Wednesday 14 Sep | 10-12 | Otakaari 1, M1-M232 

    "Climate Change and Adaptation 

    Dr. Philipp Schmidt-Thomé, GTK  

    Dr. Schmidt-Thomé is a researcher and ‎International Operations Director at the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK). Schmidt-Thomé is a geographer (MSc. with minor subjects in geology and soil science) with a dual German-Finnish citizenship and a postgraduate in hydrogeology and engineering geology. He came to the Geological Survey of Finland in 1998. He was born in El Salvador, raised in Germany, Sudan and Colombia and completed parts of his studies in Chile and Thailand. Additionally, to GTK, Schmidt-Thomé has worked as a scientist and project manager in several EU projects in South America and Southeast Asia. Apart from Aalto University he actively lectures for instance in the University of Alicante in Spain.   

    Recommended pre-materials:   

    Monday 19 Sep | 10-12 | Otakaari 1, A1-A123 

    "Finnish Development Policy & Global Goals 

    Annika Kaipola, Department of Development Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland 

    Annika Kaipola works as team leader for Quality and Results at the Department for Development Policy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. She has more than 20 years' work experience in development policy and cooperation at the United Nations and the Government of Finland. The geographical focus of Ms. Kaipola has been Asia where she spent over 7 years working mainly with issues related to sustainable management of natural resources. In her current role at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland she in engaged in developing results-based management as well as effectiveness of development cooperation. She holds a Master's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Jyväskylä.   

    Wednesday 22 Sep | 10-12  | Otakaari 1, M1-M232

    "Water we eat!"  

    Dr. Elina Lehikoinen, Climate and Envrionment Specialist, FELM

    Elina Lehikoinen  is a Doctor of Science (Tech.) from the field of water and environmental engineering. Her dissertation “Building a more resilient Finnish food system – from import dependence towards domestic natural resource use” studied the international flows of natural resources linked to food production and addressed the positive potential that Finland could have locally and globally. Her research was conducted at Aalto University’s Water and Development Research Group, and she was also part of the SGT team for many years.

    Monday 26 Sep | 10-12 | Otakaari 1, A1-A123

    "Energy security – from an unknown concept to everyday news 

    Dr. Jaakko Jääskeläinen, Energy Exemplar 

    Dr. Jaakko Jääskeläinen is a Lead Energy Market Analyst at Energy Exemplar, working with data analytics and energy system modelling. His dissertation “An interdisciplinary assessment of energy security risks in the Finnish energy market” studied aspects of energy security that have become increasingly and alarmingly topical within the past year. His research was conducted at Aalto University’s research group Energy Efficiency and Systems. 


    Wednesday 28 Sep | 10-12  | Remote (Zoom)

    Education and Economic Development”  

    Note: Link to Zoom can be found below this course schedule.

    Dr. Ritva Reinikka, Professor of Practice, Aalto BIZ

    Ritva Reinikka is Professor of Practice at the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics, based at Aalto University School of Business. She is also a Special Adviser (education) to the European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Urpilainen. Dr. Reinikka worked at the World Bank between 1993 and 2013 as a Country Economist in East Africa and was a Research Manager in the Development Research Group and a Co-Director of the 2004 World Development Report Making Services Work for Poor People. During her career at the World Bank, Ms. Reinikka was also Country Director for South Africa, based in Pretoria; Director for Poverty Reduction, Economic Management, Private Sector and Finance in the Middle East and North Africa region; and Director for Human Development in the Africa region. 

    Monday 3 Oct | 10-12  | Otakaari 1, A1-A123

    "Conflicts and coexistence in community forest conservation: a decolonial feminist perspective 

    Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora, Early-stage Researcher, University of Eastern Finland 

    Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora is a Mexican sociologist and Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies of the University of Eastern Finland. Her research brings insights from feminist political ecology, decolonial studies, and ethnography to bear on community forestry, forest conservation, and rural organizations. She currently teaches the UniPID course “Decolonizing Sustainable Development? Introductory Lessons from the Global South and the course “Feminist Approaches to Development” at the University of Helsinki. She is an active member of the activist group SomosLaColectiva.

    Wednesday 5 Oct | 10-12 | Otakaari 1, M1-M232

    "Whose values count? Translating human rights and gender equality ideals into practice for equitable and sustainable rural development 

    Dr. Pamela White, Senior Manager in Development Consulting, FCG

    Dr Pamela White is an FCG Finnish Consulting Group Senior Gender and Evaluation Expert, with over 36 years of professional experience, including more than 30 years in international development cooperation. She has long and short-term experience as a technical adviser, as well as extensive experience in project management – in rural development, social development, livestock and agriculture, forestry and natural resources management, and water and sanitation programs. She has completed a Doctorate in Social Sciences (Development Studies) in 2020, from the University of Helsinki, and has a Master’s in Social Science (International Development) 2002 from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne and a Bachelor Veterinary Science (1984) from the University of Melbourne. Her PhD focused on the role of technical development cooperation (both local and international technical assistance), including case studies from the Finnish water projects in Nepal.

    Monday 10 Oct | 10-12  | Otakaari 1, A1-A123

    “Humanitarian Urbanism”  

    Francesco Tonnarelli, UN-Habitat & Tallinn University of Technology

    Francesco is an urban planner with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and a PhD candidate at Tallinn University of Technology. He has managed and supported high-profile and complex projects for different agencies of the United Nations, such as UN-Habitat and UNHCR, mainly in East Africa and the Horn, Central and South Asia, with a specific focus on durable solutions for displacement crises and the development of capacities of local and national governments in urban and regional planning. As a doctoral student, Francesco conducts research on governance mechanisms of smart city transition and their impact on urban planning and service delivery in Africa and overlooked geographies.

    Wednesday 12 Oct | 10-12 | Otakaari 1, M1-M232

    “Peace and security along religious boundaries” 

    Dr. Timo Stewart, Senior Research Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

    Dr. Timo R. Stewart is a Senior Research Fellow at FIIA. Stewart holds a doctoral degree in political history from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. His areas of expertise include the Israel-Palestine conflict, European and US Middle East policy, and the role of religion in conflict and politics, particularly Christian Zionism and Christian Nationalism. In addition to his research career, he has previously worked for the Finnish Foreign Ministry as well as NGOs in the field of conflict resolution and analysis. Stewart’s peer reviewed monograph Valter Juvelius ja kadonneen arkin metsästys (Gaudeamus, 2020) was shortlisted for the Finlandia Prize in non-fiction in 2020 and awarded the Lauri Jäntti Prize in 2021. His latest book Luvatun maan lumo (Gaudeamus, 2022) presents the history of the phenomenon of Finnish Christian Zionism in the 20th century.

    • URL icon
      Course Zoom URL
      Not available unless: You are a(n) Student

      To be used on Wed 28.9.

    • On this padlet, you can share interesting resources (e.g. videos, readings, events) with other course participants.