Carlson urges greater cooperation, exchange with students in Finland

HELSINKI, Finland (AP) — Minnesota and Finland should work toward stronger economic cooperation and a coordinated student exchange program, Gov. Arne Carlson said Thursday during his three-day stop here.
“We have literally more Scandinavians in Minnesota than in any other state in America, and probably the fewest economic ties. That’s absurd,” he said.
University of Minnesota President Mark Yudof, Mankato State University President Richard Rush and Carlson met with executives from the Finnish telecommunications group Nokia.
The governor emphasized similarities, common roots and high educational standards.
“Finland is a lot like Minnesota, not big, not a lot of muscle, and not able to move the world around. So you have to be smarter, you have to be faster, and you have to be very strategic in your thinking,” Carlson said.
Mankato State and Nokia are both part of the Global Wireless Education Consortium, a higher education group that trains workers.
The Minnesota delegation also met with the president of the University of Helsinki to discuss educational and research cooperation.
Carlson said he would urge more Minnesota students to travel and study abroad, including to Finland.
The governor also met with President Martti Ahtisaari during the 11-day state trip that included a stop in Russia.
Carlson will return to Minnesota on Friday, and Lt. Gov. Joanne Benson will lead the Norway portion of the trip.
The governor came to Finland after a three-day visit to St. Petersburg, Russia, in an effort to drum up support for expansion of Minneapolis-based Honeywell Corp.
Benson will support a Minnesota-Norway medical initiative in a meeting with the ministers of health and education, research and church affairs.
The initiative, established in February, involves medical device companies using Norwegian clinics for trials.
Earlier this year, Carlson led a trade mission to Amsterdam, China, Singapore and New Zealand.