Keynote speakers

Mr Olli-pekka heinonen, Image: Niclas Mäkelä

Mr Olli-pekka heinonen, Image: Niclas Mäkelä

Mr Olli-Pekka Heinonen 

Mr Olli-Pekka Heinonen is the Director General at the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Before his current position he worked as a State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance of Finland. He has been responsible as a State Secretary of the portfolios of Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development. He has also acted as a State Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office and was responsible for organising and leading the Prime Minister’s Office.

Before joining the Prime Minister’s Office in March 2012, Mr Heinonen worked for 10 years as a Director in the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Mr Heinonen has been Minister of Transport and Communications (1999-2002) and Minister of Education (1994-1999). Mr Heinonen has also been a Member of the Parliament of Finland (1995-2002). He has had a number of positions of trust serving the society in a wide scale.


Mr Danny Gauch is the Director General of Worlddidac Association, the global trade association for companies providing products and solutions for all levels of education affiliated with over 150 companies and organizations in more than 35 countries.

Mr Gauch’s passion is in the field of education, the use of new technologies to create new ways of teaching, to define improved training and skills development methodologies and state of the art training equipment. He is in his element when collaborating and networking with local and international stakeholders to achieve mutually beneficial goals, creating better experiences, deeper relationships, embracing ongoing change and development, striving for continuous improvement

Mr Danny Gauch

Mr Danny Gauch

MR Juha Ala-mursula

MR Juha Ala-mursula

Mr Juha Ala-Mursula

Mr. Juha Ala-Mursula is the Executive Director of the Economic Development at BusinessOulu. He has extensive experience in innovation and international business development in managerial positions both in global business as well as in public sector.

He’s been managing the Economic and Employment Development Agency of the City of Oulu with 150 employees since 2010.  He actively participates in national and international collaboration and liaises with ministries, economic, business and innovation organisations, research, entrepreneurial agencies and companies.

Mr Ala-Mursula strongly supports research-based innovations that enhance innovative business environments, business support services, R&D&I funding as well as SMEs growth and new business opportunities through the Oulu Innovation Alliance. Currently he is the Advisor Board Chairman at 6G Flagship program. Mr Ala-Mursula has also contributed to establishing funding instruments for startups and SMEs in close collaboration with public and private investors and ERDF.



Ms Pauliina Kanervo works as the Head of Advisory Teachers in the Educational and Cultural Services at the City of Oulu. She is in charge of the teachers’ in-service training, language work and international projects and cooperation. Ms Kanervo also trains head teachers, teachers and school staff regarding the curriculum, language learning and teaching, collaborative learning and phenomenon-based learning. 


Mrs Reija Paananen Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), Adjunct Professor in Social Medicine, works as a Project Manager at Diaconia University of Applied Sciences. She has published several interdisciplinary articles about young people’s well-being, marginalization and social inclusion. She speaks for young-oriented service system and develops tools for self-assessment and evaluation of well-being.


Mr Markus Packalen is a Finnish classroom teacher, currently working for award-winning formative assessment tool Qridi. Mr Packalen is known for developing a Technology Education Class study program in Rajakylä Elementary School, Oulu. He is a true believer of high-quality education and its power to free human potential everywhere. 


Mr Jarmo Paloniemi, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D),
is the principal of Oulu Vocational College OSAO, which has 10 000 students. Mr Paloniemi has 26 years’ experience of working among Finnish education system.


Seija Karvonen (MA) is Director of Education at the Luovi Vocational College. She has wide-ranging experience in education, teaching and special education. ”At Luovi we believe that each individual is special and deserves equal rights and opportunities in society.”

Ms Sirpa Turves-Mankila is the Founder and Director of Early Childhood Education of Touhula Varhaiskasvatus Oy, which is the largest private early childhood education company in Finland. She has been developing Touhula’s concept and opened 100+ kindergartens in Finland. She has also been working on kindergarten projects in Australia and China. Her passion is to create happy childhoods by exporting the Finnish early childhood education globally.


Mr Panu Kela is a principal of Oulu Upper Secondary School for Adults. He has been developing upper secondary
school, immigrant education and distance learning methods in different schools since 2000.


Mr Kimmo Kuortti (MA) is Head of Global Education Services at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. He is a Steering group member in the EAIE Expert Community Marketing and Recruitment. His specialities are human resources, team work and leadership and competence based learning.

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