Recognition for the builders of Espoo’s community spirit and future

29.8.2022 7.34Updated: 29.8.2022 9.40
The Laukkanen family of five is on a stage receiving the The Mayor’s encouragement award. The mayor is holding a baby that received the Newcomer of the Year Award.
Espoo’s 300,000th resident received the Newcomer of the Year Award on Espoo Day.Photo: Pauli Boström.

The Mayor’s traditional encouragement awards were presented as part of the Espoo Day programme.

The Newcomer of the Year 2022 is “Miss Laukkanen”, Espoo’s 300,000th resident. The city’s population exceeded the 300,000 mark this summer, and at that very moment, a new person joined the Laukkanen family. The newborn baby was welcomed to Espoo at Espoo Hospital, and on Espoo Day, she will receive the Newcomer of the Year Award.

Espoo’s Educator of the Year 2022 is Sampo Suihko. Suihko has had an impressive career in the field of education in both Finland and international networks. Suihko was the City of Espoo’s Director of Education and Cultural Services from 2012 to 2016 and Director of Omnia, the Joint Authority of Education in the Espoo Region, from 2004 to 2012 and from 2017 to 2021. Suihko has also been actively involved in local heritage issues. His love of culture shows in his passion for music and singing. Sampo Suihko has actively participated in the establishment of the Metropolitan Area Sports Academy URHEA and the Omnia Basketball Academy, both of which are also among this year’s award recipients.

Espoo’s Educator Community of the Year 2022 is Omnia and the Omnia Basketball Academy. The Omnia Basketball Academy (OBA) has been part of Omnia’s sports education institution since 2019. It is an ambitious U19 basketball team that plays at the Finnish Championship level and combines top-level sports with studies, promotion of inclusion and integration, and interaction between different cultures. Almost 70 players have taken part in the project that was launched in the school year 2019–2020. Smooth cooperation between different administrative bodies is one of the main factors behind the success of the concept. The organisations involved in the activities are the Walter Association, URHEA, Omnia, the Finnish Basketball Association, the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the City of Espoo.

The recipients of this year’s awards are:

  • Simo Tarvonen, Metropolitan Area Sports Academy URHEA
  • Maurizio Pratesi, Walter Association
  • Henrik Dettmann, Finnish Basketball Association
  • Petra Sillanpää, Tuula Antola, Sampo Suihko and Justice Graham, Omnia
  • Hannu Tolonen, Ministry of Education and Culture

In honour of Espoo’s 50th anniversary, our Homegrown Talent Award comes with a special distinction. An ice hockey rink at the new Ilmatar arena in Matinkylä will be named the Jere Rink after the two recipients of Espoo’s Homegrown Talent Award. The name of the rink honours the achievements of Jere Lehtinen and Jere Sallinen as powerhouses in Finnish ice hockey. In the future, the Jere Rink will remind every young hockey player that Espoo offers wonderful possibilities for them to grow into successful players and influencers in hockey and promoters of true community spirit.

Espoo’s Homegrown Talents of 2022 and the inspiration behind the Jere Rink are Jere Lehtinen and Jere Sallinen. Other award recipients include Miro Heiskanen, Riku Koivunen, Mika Kortelainen and Tero Tolvanen, who have strongly contributed to Finland’s success in ice hockey, which culminated this year in the world championship and Olympic gold.

The Mayor’s encouragement awards were first presented in 2011. The awards aim to promote community spirit in our growing city and to draw attention to positive achievements.

This year marks 50 years since Espoo became a city. For this reason, the traditional Espoo Day has been turned into a whole week of festivities. 

  • Espoo50