Mirja Ryynänen was invited as Honorary Chairperson of Demo Finland on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy at Demo Finland’s 10th anniversary seminar on the 15th September. Ryynänen was the first Chair of Demo Finland in 2006–2007 after the organisation’s establishment in September 2005.
“Starting something new is a strong experience for the people involved, founding Demo Finland was a uniting experience for us and that co-operative spirit was needed to push our agenda forward because political parties were not accepted in development cooperation by all. Thus, it was and it still is important that all eight parliamentary parties are founders of Demo Finland”, said Mirja Ryynänen after accepting the invitation.
“Today, however, we celebrate Demo Finland’s 10th anniversary with mixed feelings. Demo Finland has shown great capacity to meet the needs of its partners and has always had the wisdom to work in good cooperation with everyone involved. The proposed cuts to development co-operation are very harmful for Demo Finland – much of the good work will be totally wasted”, she continued.
Ryynänen then expressed her concern by appealing to all members of the Parliament of Finland “Please reconsider these cuts and direct more resources to important priority areas such as women, girls, youth and their empowerment.”
Mirja Ryynänen was a Member of the Parliament of Finland for the Centre Party from 1987 until 1994 and again from 1999 until 2003. Between 1995 and 1999, she was a Member of the European Parliament. In 2003 she was appointed as Vice-chair of the newly founded Development Policy Committee and in this role she was a driving force behind Demo Finland’s establishment.
In other words, Ryynänen has been an active supporter of Demo Finland for more than a decade and even before the organisation existed.