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Anu Partanen      

Finnish-American Journalist & Author of The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life

Originally from Finland and now based in the United States, Anu Partanen is an expert on the ways parental leaves, education, healthcare, and other social policies affect everyday lives. Over the course of her two-decade career as a journalist she has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Fortune, and covered politics, technology, culture, and the arts.

Moving to America from Finland in 2008, Partanen found that navigating the basics of everyday life in the U.S.- from buying a cell phone and filing taxes to education and childcare- was much more complicated and stressful than anything she encountered in her homeland. At first, she attributed her crippling anxiety to the difficult of adapting to a freewheeling new culture. But as she got to know Americans better, she discovered they shared her deep apprehension. But as she got to know Americans better, she discovered they shared her deep apprehension. To understand why life is so different in the U.S. and Finland, Partanen began to look closely at both. In "The Nordic Theory of Everything," Partanen compares and contrasts life in the US with life in the Nordic region, focusing on four key relationships- parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and government and citizens.

Speech Topics

Work-life Balance

How the Nordic Countries’ Approach to Parental Leaves, Part-Time Work, and Work-Life Balance Creates Independent Individuals, Happy Families and Productive Workplaces


How to Create Schools and Public Education that Support Both Equality and Excellence—Drawing on Lessons From Finland’s Education Miracle

Health Care

Debunking Myths About Universal Health Care and Showing Its Benefits to Individuals, Businesses, and Societies

Business and Innovation

Surprising Insights from the Nordic Region’s Dynamic High-Tech Companies: It’s Better for Business to Give Employees Paid Parental Leaves and Real Vacations, and to Let Them Leave Work at 5pm

Gender Equality

How Men and Women, Dads and Moms, Can Flourish Both at Work and At Home: 21st-Century Lessons from the Most Gender-Equal Countries on Earth, the Nordic Nations

Smart Government

How Governments Can Design Smart Policies to Support Citizens Instead of Limiting Them—The American View vs. Nordic Thinking

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