Miia Itänen

Senior Communications Advisor

Miia is a communications specialist with experience in cooperation, EU affairs and regional development through interregional learning and sharing of experiences. She strives to facilitate connections and foster collaboration among people and organizations to spark new ideas.


  • MA in Management (European Business and EU Affairs), Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium (2011)
  • MSc in Economics and Business Administration (International Business), Aalto University, Finland (2011)
  • BSc in Economics and Business Administration (International Business), Helsinki School of Economics, Finland (2008)

Previous positions

  • Senior Communication Officer, Interreg Europe
  • Communication Officer, Interreg Europe
  • Network and Policy Coordinator, European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN)
  • Policy Officer, European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN)
  • Corporate Citizenship / University Relations Assistant, IBM


  • Finnish (native)
  • English (C2)
  • Swedish (B2)
  • French (B2)
  • Dutch (B2)

Miia Itänen‘s spatial story

The first pin on my map is located in Vantaa, in the capital region in southern Finland. Looking at it now from Stockholm, it does not seem to be very far, but it has been a journey through different vantage points, zooming out and looking at the world from a global or international perspective, seeking insights from a European viewpoint, and zooming in to local and regional levels to get here.

The full story would result in a web of interconnected points on the map, some of which have been mere quick pit stops, others recurring destinations, and some have made me stop for a longer period of time. Furthermore, the story is still unfolding, so for now, let’s re-cap some steps along the way until the present.

Born and raised in Finland, I was always keen to explore the world beyond my nearest surroundings and see what else there might be to discover. I love travelling and visiting new places. However, trips to new destinations didn’t quite seem to be enough. I wanted to understand the world, societies and communities also in a broader sense.

As a step towards expanding my horizons, I switched the national curriculum to an international programme for my high school studies. From there, I moved on to pursue studies in international business and economics at the Helsinki School of Economics (now Aalto University). The fast-paced studies in a multicultural environment were full of interesting people and projects. As a part of the studies, an exchange semester in Singapore opened yet new perspectives through courses, culture and travels across the wonderfully varied region of Southeast Asia. It was an excellent lesson in learning from differences and questioning (also own) habits and customs that can easily be taken for granted in a specific context or environment.

While the business lens or a perspective of an economist helped to make sense of the world to a certain degree, I was keen to get more insights into how businesses and organisations interact with their stakeholders and function as a part of their operational ecosystems – locally and globally. I got to explore this aspect both from a practical perspective by working with corporate citizenship and governmental affairs initiatives in the IT-sector, and from the academic perspective by studying corporate social responsibility narratives and discourses of international corporations. This also got me interested in communications and its power and potential to share views and experiences and shape attitudes, policies, and behaviours.

Diving deeper into the world of stakeholder relations, corporate affairs and interest representation took me to Belgium, first for additional studies on European business and EU affairs, and then to Brussels to work on EU policies and interregional cooperation. Working together with different regions in a network setting was a practical look into the interplay between local and regional, national and European policy-making in fields such as industrial policy, innovation, energy and environmental policies, or SME support and skills development.

From Belgium, my journey continued to France, still focusing on interregional cooperation, projects, and facilitating exchange of experience between regions and policymakers across Europe to identify and share solutions to regional development challenges. At the secretariat of Interreg Europe, an EU co-funded cooperation programme, I got to see how local, regional and national authorities across Europe came together to share and learn from each other.

Now, the path has led me to Nordregio. The Nordic perspective adds another dimension to looking at the world, but certain key elements still remain: addressing common challenges and contributing towards better and sustainable policies, finding innovative solutions and good practices, leveraging stakeholder engagement, and promoting cooperation.