July 24 – 28, 2024

The five Nordic countries have been a source of wonder for the world since the 1950’s. Moving from a relatively low standard of living, rudimentary public education, and mediocre health care systems to the world’s best in rather a short period of time has caused other nations to ask how they did it. This presentation will develop the historical background of Nordic success, giving examples of the steady improvement in the various countries.

Presenter Bio: Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, where she specialized in Finnish history. Her dissertation was entitled “Jewish Identity in Finland.” In addition to studying minority identity in Finland, especially the Jewish community, her research includes the development of Finnish education, Finnish Independence and Civil War, and Women’s Suffrage. Sharon serves on the Board of FinnFest USA. She was named one of the Finlandia Foundation Lecturers of the Year for 2016-2018. She spoke to civic groups on her topic “Finnish Independence.” Sharon retired in 2021 as an associate professor history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she taught Russian history, Scandinavian history, and secondary social studies education.