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Education and Early Career
Halonen obtained a Master of Laws degree from the University of Helsinki in 1968 and served as the Social Affairs Secretary and General Secretary of the National Union of Students (SYL) from 1969 to 1970. From 1970-1974, she worked as a lawyer with the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK)
She joined the Social Democratic Party in 1971. She was appointed parliamentary secretary in 1974. From 1975 until 1996, she was a member of Helsinki City Council. And, in 1979 she was elected to Parliament as a member for the Helsinki constituency. She served as a member of Parliament until her inauguration as President in 2000. In the Parliament her first formal post was as Chairman of the Social Committee from 1984 to 1987.
1987 – 2000
In 1987, Halonen was appointed Minister of Social Affairs and Health in the government of Prime Minister Harri Holkeri, a position she held until 1990. In addition, she served as Minister of Nordic Cooperation from 1989 until 1991, the same year in which she was also appointed chairman of the International Solidarity Foundation, a post she relinquished in 2000. From 1990 to 1991 she served as Minister of Justice, and from 1995 until her election as President she served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the government of her Social Democratic colleague Paavo Lipponen.
Presidential Campaign (2000) and Presidency (2000- )
Halonen only narrowly won the second round of the Presidential election in 2000 but her approval ratings soon after rose to 88% (2003). Halonen was nominated as one of the top ten members of the “Suuret Suomalaiset” (greatest Finns) TV special in 2004, the only living person to be included.
Despite this, she only narrowly won the 2006 Presidential election. Her term expires in 2012.
Micheline Calmy-Rey is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders , an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.
- Tarja Halonen with Council of Women World Leaders