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"Day of Cities"

8 April 2019

Geneva, Switzerland

Participating mayors in UNECE cities, page 2




After an extensive career in Finnish national politics, Mr. Jan Vapaavuori became the Mayor of Helsinki in June 2017. As his first task, he set forth a city strategy that laid the ground for an ambitious four-year agenda. The strategy champions Helsinki as the “most functional city in the world” with special focus on sustainable growth, digitalization, global problem solving, creativity and the best possible conditions for happy everyday city life. The strategy also defined Helsinki as a test-bed for start-ups and smart city development projects resulting in an increased global relevance for the city.

Mr. Vapaavuori was Minister of Economic Affairs from 2012 to 2015 and Minister of Housing from 2007 to 2011. As Minister of Economic Affairs, he negotiated the Meyer Turku shipyard sale that played a key role in renewing the Finnish maritime industry. His accomplishments as Minister of Housing include a programme that resulted in a decrease of long-term homelessness by fifty percent - a model that has gained international recognition. From 2003 to 2015, Mr. Vapaavuori has been a member of the Parliament. During his term as MP, he served as chair of the party's parliamentary group. In addition to his career in national politics, Mr. Vapaavuori has a long-standing career with the City of Helsinki as Member of the Helsinki City Council and as the chairman of the City Board. Before becoming the Mayor of Helsinki, he was Vice President of the European Investment Bank from 2015.

Mr. Vapaavuori is a graduate of Master of Law from the University of Helsinki.



Aleksi Jäntti became the Deputy Mayor of the city of Tampere in June 2017. He is responsible for urban development in his city.


Mr. Jäntti was born in 1974. He graduated from the Finnish National Defense College in 1999 and served as an officer in the Finnish Defense Forces until spring 2008. He gained international experience from his participation in NATO's KFOR peace support operation in Kosovo. After his stint in the Finnish Defense Forces, he worked as an entrepreneur in construction business and as an account manager in the human resources sector.


His political involvement started in the municipality of Lempäälä where he was a member of the City Council and the City Board from 2005-2011 and in the city of Tampere from 2013.



Sami Kanaan was elected Mayor of Geneva in 2018. He was born in 1964 to a Lebanese father and a Swiss mother. He is fluent in French, Swiss German, German, English and Arabic, and he divides his time between Lebanon, Greece and Switzerland. He obtained a degree in Physics from ETHZ before completing a degree in political science at the University of Geneva.


Mr. Kanaan has been a member of the Socialist Party since 1988 and chaired the Socialists of the City of Geneva from 1994 to 1998. In 2011, he was elected to the Administrative Council of the City of Geneva in charge of the Department of Culture and Sports.



Andris Rāviņš became the Chairman of Jelgava City Council in 2001 and since then, he has been reelected four times. Mr. Rāviņš started his career in 1980 as a chief engineer of a collective farm. Ten years later, he became a Chairman of the Jelgava District Council. He was the Minister of Agriculture from 1997.






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