MEET OUR TEAM: “these missions are my second career and kind of a lifestyle”

Veijo Alavaikko, a police officer from Finland, is working for EUAM Iraq as a Senior Strategic Adviser on Command and Control & Crisis management and shares his experiences of his work in Baghdad, Iraq. 


Briefly describe your career and tell us why you applied for a position with EUAM Iraq? 

 I have worked in different international missions as a police officer for nine years. Therefore, I can say that these missions are my second career and kind of a lifestyle. It doesn’t mean I don’t like my job back in my own country.  I feel I have something to give to my colleagues in foreign countries. Having great memories and nice experiences from several different countries also motivated me once again to apply. 

Tell us about your daily work?  

I am here to help local police in becoming better. In this work we focus on commanding and controlling the police operations but also the daily work. There are many methods to do that. I would say the most important daily task is to listen. Gathering information from everywhere, especially from Iraqi colleagues is an essential and first part of our core task.  During a normal day we can visit our counterparts. Through discussions and other information sharing we get to the point where we assess the situation, give advice, or start organizing a special event. That can be a workshop, seminar, panel discussion or whatever method works the best in that particular context. 

How do you find working with colleagues from different backgrounds?

When we say “colleagues” I count in both mission members and our counterparts in Iraqi police.  Cooperation with them is rich and rewarding. That has been one of the best experiences during my whole police career. Colleagues are also mirrors to me. Sharing ideas, experiences, and opinions with them gives me an opportunity to become better police.  Many of them become friends with whom we keep contacts for many years. 

What has been the most rewarding or memorable experience for you in the Mission so far?

In years 2004-2006 I worked as an instructor in Jordan International Police Training Center where Iraqi police cadets received their basic training. There I promised for many students that someday I will come to Iraq to see how they are doing. So far, I have met couple of officers who studied in Jordan. Hopefully someday I meet someone who has been in my class.

What do you enjoy the most with Iraqi people and culture?  

Iraqi people have an adorable ability to live in the moment. I wish the western world would sometimes exercise the same skill.  


If you could live anywhere, where would you choose to be?  

I like safety and I like to be close to nature. Therefore, Finland is the best place to me. If I should mention other countries, those could be Norway or Switzerland. 

What is something your colleagues don’t know about you?

Maybe some of them don’t know that one of my hobbies is amateur theatre. I am an actor and director in a theatre club which produces drama, comedy and improvisation theatre shows. 

 What is your usual order at a restaurant?

My top three favorites are pepper steak, pizza, and salmon. 

 How do you relax?

I am lucky to have many relaxing methods. Number one is sports. I play ice hockey, but I also jog, go to the gym and ski. And I mean cross-country skiing, not downhill. Culture is another. Besides making theatre, I sing pop and dance songs.   

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