There are usually many festivals held in the United States among Finns during the year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Finns in the association’s United States have had to move to virtual meetings, lectures and concerts.

FinnFest USA also announces on its website that it will move to lectures via Zoom. The Zoom virtual connection is not the same as if we meet in person at festivals, but before massive events are allowed to begin again, Zoom provides a good platform for discussions and concerts. FinnFest USA starts both music performances and lectures alternately on the last Saturday of each month from January. The first lecture to be held via Zoom is on Saturday January 30. 2021 at 11.00 (11am CT) Finnish time at 19.00. Each lecture is about 30-40 minutes, after which the audience has the opportunity to ask questions. The total duration of each lecture is 60 minutes, except in July, when two lectures and a webinar lasting 90 minutes will be presented. Music performances and lectures continue alternately every month until joint FinnFest USA meetings are allowed again.

The first series of lectures will start on January 30. 2021 at 11.00 CT time in the United States, Finnish time at 19.00. The lecturer is Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, PhD, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The theme of the lecture is the origin of the Finnish people. Click on the link below to register for this lecture.


After registration, you will receive a Zoom link and a password to participate. Participation in the lecture is free, but you can make a donation to FinnFest USA here if you wish.

Areas of the lecture is on the origin of the Finnish people: The lecture begins with the prehistoric origins of Finnish speakers, their arrival in Finland and their lives in a tribal environment. It ends in the Swedish era.

Have you ever wondered where the Finns came from? Since Finnish is clearly not a Western language, people have been thinking about this topic for centuries. Where did the Finns come from? Does their very unusual language make Finns unique? How do they differ from their neighbors? When do Finns appear in the history of Finland?

Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, PhD
Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, PhD

BIO: Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen received her PhD from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where she specialized in Finnish history. Her dissertation was entitled “Jewish Identity in Finland.” During this research, she and her husband lived in Finland as Fulbright Scholars for two years. In addition to the study of minority identity in Finland, Franklin-Rahkonen’s research includes women’s suffrage and the development of Finnish education. She has made several trips to Finland to visit schools, the National Board of Education, and the Ministry of Education.

Dr. Franklin-Rahkonen serves on the Board of FinnFest USA and on the Finlandia University (Hancock, Michigan) Finnish Council in America. Sharon was named one of the Finlandia Foundation Lecturers of the Year for 2016–2018. She spoke to civic groups on her topic “Finnish Independence.” Franklin-Rahkonen is currently an Associate Professor of History at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches Russian history, Scandinavian history, and secondary social studies education.

More information about FinnFest USA organization and future lectures here.