Academic of the Year – Researcher Nafisa Yeasmin

25.10.2019 11:00

Nafisa Yeasmin, Doctor of Social Sciences, has received the Academic of the Year award granted by the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers (FUURT). She works as a project manager at the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland. Yeasmin is an active academic and a social activist whose research has a high and direct impact on the society. Yeasmin received the award on Friday at FUURT’s International University seminar held at Aalto University in Espoo.

“Our union is for all academics. The Academic of the Year award is not only a sign of high scientific merits, but it also reflects our diversity. This year we emphasise our international nature. The status of international researchers at Finnish universities and in the Finnish society forms a part of our foundation and we will continue to build a better future for all academics in Finland,” says Maija S. Peltola, President of the Union, while presenting this year’s Academic of the Year.

Nafisa Yeasmin graduated from the University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh as a Master of Laws. She has previously worked as a lecturer at Prime University in Bangladesh. In 2006, Yeasmin moved to Rovaniemi, after which she studied Finnish and eventually began to work. She has worked with immigrants on matters related to their well-being for a long time.

Yeasmin received her PhD from the University of Lapland in November 2018. In her doctoral dissertation Yeasmin examined factors that impact immigration to the north negatively. The results of the research revealed that many immigrants feel socially isolated from the rest of the population.

Currently, Nafisa Yeasmin works as the project manager of the Aim2Work project at the Arctic Centre. The project, funded by the European Social Fund, aims to motivate small and medium-sized companies to support individuals with immigrant backgrounds and the long-term unemployed in general in entering the job market. The project also seeks to strengthen cooperative activities.

Yeasmin’s research focuses on topics such as sustainable entrepreneurship, immigration, integration, regional development, and social inclusion. She has written dozens of articles on these topics for professionals, the academic community, and the general public. Yeasmin utilises her extensive networks in her research. She also uses participatory research methods.

Nafisa Yeasmin uses research findings to improve people’s position in society. Her expertise has been utilised in many local and nationwide working groups and associations. Yeasmin is a member of the government-appointed Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations (ETNO). The aim of ETNO is to promote dialogue between different groups as well as to aid ministries in building a society that is diverse and equal in its treatment of people of different ethnicities. In addition, Yeasmin has been a member of a working group focused on immigration matters appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. She is also an active member of the monitoring committee of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) managed by the Ministry of the Interior. In Rovaniemi, she is the founder and chair of Arctic Immigrants, an association for immigrants in Lapland.

In addition to being announced as this year’s Academic of the Year, Yeasmin has also received other awards, including, for instance, the Voice of Immigrant "Maahanmuuttajien Ääni" cultural achievement award from the City of Rovaniemi, the University of Lapland Rector’s Award, and an honour for promoting tolerance and non-discrimination from ETNO.


Nafisa Yeasmin, Project Manager, Researcher, tel. +358 (0)40 513 8414;
Maija S. Peltola, President of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers, tel. +358 (0)400 645 497