It's a good debate to have, and in some ways, it seems like there's no reason why the U.S. shouldn't borrow from Finland or any other Nordic country -- we're richer and just as committed to improving education and health, after all. Here's the difference: Finland's welfare system was hardwired into its economic development strategy, and it hasn't been seriously challenged by any major political group since.

As the countdown to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) election intensifies, diplomacy takes a silly turn. Australia, Finland and Luxembourg – competitors in the race - continue to outdo each other in pursuit of the diplomatic prize: a temporary seat on the UNSC.

From a global branding point of view what is the worst thing that can happen when you mention the word Finland? The worst thing that can happen is that nothing springs to mind. This is why Finland has become interested in developing its country brand and image over the past few years.

...politicians might reconsider their stance on meeting the Dalai Lama if he makes it to this part of the world again. A man who draws crowds of nearly 10,000 as well as extensive media coverage is hardly insignificant to political leaders...the Dalai Lama has immense “soft power that every western politician or president would die to have".

European anti-racism campaigners have criticised moves by Finnish authorities to colour-code the country's ID cards, with bright blue cards for native-born citizens and brown cards for all foreign nationals, calling the new scheme "legalised ethnic profiling".

The newest issue of Focus on the Economy and Technology, a magazine created for key audiences in Finland’s major export markets, presents the country’s strong points to the world in articles about water expertise, education, energy, design and more. The same central themes were emphasised in Finland’s country brand report in November.

The programme aims at deepening the understanding of Finland and to create a positive attitude towards it. In the long run it is an investment into future media relations that are an integral part of the Ministry’s public diplomacy.

Over the next five years, Finland’s embassy network is to be scaled back. This autumn, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will publish a list of diplomatic missions that are to be closed down. On the other hand, even some new embassies and consulates will be opened.