Between the nation and the globe: education for global mindedness in Finland

Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti*, Gert Biesta, Cash Ahenakew

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores some of the tensions at the interface of nationalist and global orientations in ideals of global mindedness and global citizenship looking specifically at the Finnish context. We engage with discussions related to the social–political and historical context of national identity in Finland and outline the conceptual framework of an educational initiative related to the development of global mindedness through experiences of international mobility and partnerships. This conceptual outline presents a set of theoretical distinctions through which we seek to challenge humanist and universalist approaches to the question of (the formation of) global mindedness by arguing that the issue is neither about cognition or understanding nor about empathy and relationships but ultimately has to do with modes of existence and exposure. Similar to discussions in other small states, the historical trajectory in Finland illustrates how the encounter between the nation and the globe poses particular challenges for education as it runs the risk of reverting to ethnocentric rather than globally minded forms of national identity building. We argue that this risk cannot be addressed with the promotion of a mere understanding of or mere empathy for the other as an educational or political antidote but rather requires an existential approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-259
Number of pages14
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • empathy
  • exposure
  • Finland
  • global mindedness
  • international mobility
  • understanding


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