News 19 Aug 2019

Nordic Statistical Meeting brings together topline speakers – including Tarja Halonen, Siim Sikkut and Esa Mäkinen

Nearly 400 statistical professionals have registered for the Nordic Statistical Meeting (NSM2019) organised by Statistics Finland. The number is higher than ever before. The Nordic Statistical Meeting has been organised since 1927.

In addition to participants from the Nordic countries, there are also participants from at least Italy, Japan, Greece and Estonia. The lecturers of the event also represent the true experts of several different statistical authorities.

NSM begins on Monday, 26 August, with short courses where the participants can learn about, for example, machine learning and video communication. On Tuesday, several interesting lectures will take place.

Faiz Alsuhail, Head of the Programme Committee, highlights the panel discussion titled Data, Statistical Literacy and Facts. The topic will be discussed by Esa Mäkinen, author and data journalist at Helsingin Sanomat, Kimmo Vehkalahti, adjunct professor in statistics at the University of Helsinki, and Tuuli Kaskinen, multi-talented social influencer from think tank Demos in Helsinki.

According to Alsuhail, the discussion is held in an interesting social situation. Technology company IBM has estimated, that 90 per cent of the data in the world has been generated during the last two years and the rate is accelerating.

At the same time, there are a lot of fake news circulating. According to the Eurobarometer, a good third of Europeans said they had come across fake news daily in 2018.

“From this point of view, it will be interesting to hear how Mäkinen, Vehkalahti and Kaskinen handle this topic, which concerns us all”, says Alsuhail.

Experts from five countries in the spotlight simultaneously

On Tuesday, the programme continues with parallel sessions, with three to four presentations in each. The participants can choose the session they prefer.

”The presentation titled New comparative data on migrants and their integration in the Nordic Countries analyses immigration and is the work of statistical professionals from five countries and most certainly topical”, says Alsuhail.

The NSM continues Wednesday with a keynote speech by Siim Sikkut, Government CIO of Estonia. Sikkut has become known through, for example, Estonia’s e-Residency programme and his
speech concerns digitalisation in the public sector.

According to Alsuhail, electronic public services leave a digital footprint and, thus, generate data. At the same time, the digitalisation in the public sector changes the citizens’ expectations on public services.

“Sikkut is known as a good speaker, who can describe change vividly and make the future visible”, states Alsuhail.

The meeting culminates in President Tarja Halonen’s keynote speech. Halonen has become known as an advocate for equality, sustainable development and environmental friendliness. Her speech is titled Measuring sustainable development.

According to Alsuhail, Halonen’s speech is an important part of the dialogue between statistical authorities and actors using the data. The UN’s sustainable development indicators help in monitoring the fulfilment of the goals of Agenda 2030 which the UN Member States have agreed on. The action plan aims to, for example, eradicate poverty from the whole world.

The NSM conference takes place at the end of August, from 26 to 28, at Marina Congress Center in Katajanokka, Helsinki. Registration to the conference is closed, but you can tune in to the mood by following the Twitter account NSM2019Helsinki. The conference uses the hashtag #NSM2019Helsinki.

The media is welcome to attend the discussions and lectures of the event. You can acquaint yourself with the programme at Further information for the media and registrations: Faiz Alsuhail,, tel. +358 29 551 2921