Emma Hakala is a Senior Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. She is Doctor of Social Sciences from the University of Helsinki. Her dissertation from political history examined environmental security in post-conflict Western Balkans. In her research, Emma has focused on the role and actions of international organisations in post-conflict societies.
“Knowledge of history and better understanding of the past helps us also understand different kinds of societies. It is important to pay attention to the historical developments and progressions that affect the debates in societies today”, says Emma. “Many societal conflicts, that take place on the level of discussion, could be solved if everybody understood each other’s perspectives and viewpoints through a common and shared history.”
Emma joined HWB soon after the founding meeting in the summer of 2015 and acted as the Secretary of the Board until 2017. Since 2016, Emma has also served as a board member. “As a board member, I especially want to pay attention to developing projects that address practical issues”, says Emma who has been active in planning HWB’s future activities and developing new projects.
In Emma’s opinion, the programme of our international conference, Use and Abuse of History in Conflicts, in May 2016, shows especially well how many different subjects HWB can tackle. “We have organised many good discussions and events, in which we have aspired to have many different people from all walks of life discussing history and historical events”. Emma remembers especially well our panel discussion on the legacy of colonialism in development aid in May 2017. “The discussion was interesting and the audience brought up many good thought and ideas which have helped us in developing our work further”, she says.