people

Veera Heinonen

Director, Democracy and participation, Sitra

Who?

Veera Heinonen is Director of the Democracy and engagement theme. She is responsible for ensuring that Sitra’s strategic objectives to strengthen democracy and engagement in Finland are implemented in practice.

The theme’s objectives include ensuring that people’s engagement and influencing opportunities strengthen democracy and support the realisation of the principles of the rule of law. Veera and her team especially focus on investigating how network-based operating methods and algorithm- and data-based means of operating and influencing can be harnessed to support democracy, engagement and co-operation.

What?

Throughout her career, Veera has been, in one way or another, involved in the promotion of vital democracy. First as a journalist and a correspondent, then as a civil servant and a diplomat, and finally as the Director of Communications, both at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and at the Office of the President of the Republic of Finland. Before her current position, she worked as Sitra’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs.

Her current role focuses on not only defending but also renewing democracy as the ongoing transition from the democracy of the era of industrialisation to the democracy of an increasingly digital society requires the reform of operating methods and preparing for new threats. These threats include, for example, manipulating people with misinformation and disinformation and all kinds of campaigns intended to confuse people.

What else?

During the Covid-19 crisis, Veera took up tennis and now firmly believes that it is never too late to learn new things. All in all, the exceptional circumstances have offered her an opportunity to look at her own ways of acting, strengthen her relationship with family and friends and nurture her bond with nature.

“I have never before registered how absolutely fantastic the symphony of birdsong is in Finland in the spring.”