ABOVE: President Halonen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for public service by University of Minnesota Duluth on July 25, 2008.

President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen and Dr Pentti Arajärvi
will visited Duluth in Minnesota on 23-28 July 2008 to attend the
Finnish-American FinnFest 2008 event. During the visit, President Halonen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for public service at the  University of Minnesota Duluth. "Her outstanding leadership on behalf of the rights of women, and workers, and the poor have made her an international role model", Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin noted.
The President´s visit highlights the importance of the Finnish-American
 community in maintaining and deepening the relationship between the two countries. The University of Minnesota Duluth was the official host for President Halonen and she gave a speech at the University´s Honorary  Degree Ceremony.
President Halonen  also attended the Panel of Women Leaders, along with  the former U.S. Ambassador to Finland, Ms Marilyn Ware, and other women leaders. The Presidential couple will also visit the Natural Resource  Research Institute.
The theme for the five-day FinnFest 2008 event was "Sharing the Spirit of Finland". The festival offered a variety of displays of Finnish culture and marks the 25th FinnFest USA event. Minnesota has one of the largest percentage of population who have Finnish roots in the United States. President Halonen also attended the FinnFest event that took place Lake Worth in Florida in 2004.
President Halonen and Dr Arajärvi returned to Finland on Monday.

photo below convention center welcomes the President of Finland.
Duluth DECC venue for FINNFEST 2008
above: Walking in the Spirit of Finland. This year's theme replicated in the abundance of walking sticks painted by local Finns.
President Tarja Halonen giving her speech on Friday morning
Flutist Ulla Suokko and flamenco guitarist Carlos Revollar....Manhattan-based, prize-winning duo will be performing a New York recital in next season's Artists International Alumni Winners Series.
One of the lectures:  Viili - Real Finnish Culture with Beatrice Ojakangas.  Session discussed viili....made with a specifically identified culture called "Lactococcus lactis".
one of the many "gardens" found throughout the DECC.
The Marketplace (Tori) included items like the unique round sauna pictured below.
above: The International Dance Groups performed together:  Katirilli Finnish Folk Dancers of California, Kisarit Finnish-American Folk Dancers of the Twin Cities
in Minnesota,  Kasareikka from Stockholm, Sweden, and TKY from Turku, Finland
Kivajat....Finnish Folk Dancing children ages 8 to 13 from the Copper Country in the UP of Michigan.  Leader is Kay Seppala of Chassell, Michigan