American economist to receive an award on Rule of Law Day, 26 October 2023

The annual Rule of Law Day will be celebrated in the Great Hall of the Main Building of the University of Helsinki and online on Thursday, 26 October from 10.00 to 16.30. This year, the event will be held primarily in English.

The Rule of Law Day is an event open to all that brings together Finnish and international top experts in development cooperation and the rule of law from the public sector, non-governmental organisations and universities to discuss the successes and challenges of efforts related to the rule of law. You can take part in the event by registering via the Rule of Law Centre website.

The Rule of Law Day will be opened by a representative of The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Rector Sari Lindblom of the University of Helsinki.

The thematic panel discussions in the afternoon will focus on the relationship between a strong economy and a strong rule of law, as well as the realisation of human rights and equality in the frameworks of the rule of law. The panel discussions are hosted by journalist Elina Hirvonen.

The Rule of Law Day will conclude with the publication of the Rule of Law Centre’s strategic plan for the period 2024–2027. The plan will be presented in Finnish.

In connection with Rule of Law Day, the Rule of Law Centre and the Leo Mechelin Foundation will present the Leo Mechelin Medal of Honour to a distinguished proponent of the rule of law. The programme includes a Leo Mechelin Keynote Lecture by the recipient.

Professor James A. Robinson, an internationally esteemed economist and political scientist at the University of Chicago, has been named as the second Leo Mechelin Keynote Speaker. Robinson is well known for his wide-ranging research in the social sciences and extensive publications on economic and political differences between nations.

His works co-authored with Daron Acemoglu, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (2012) and The Narrow Corridor: States, Society and the Fate of Liberty (2019), examine the relationship between institutions, political power and economic inequality, claiming that participatory political and economic institutions are a prerequisite for welfare and the rule of law. Robinson is known as a tireless defender of good governance, democracy and participatory institutions.

Before his appointment at the University of Chicago, Robinson carved out a significant career at, among others, Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Further information:

Iko Raatikainen,
Project Planning Officer Rule of Law Centre
+358 50 346 5549

Leo Mechelin

Legal scholar, professor, senator and member of parliament Leo Mechelin (1839–1914) was a noted pioneer of the rule of law in Finland and in the international legal community. Thanks to Mechelin’s work and writings, Finland’s constitutional status as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire gained a great deal of international attention. The Senate of Finland headed by Mechelin from 1905 to 1908 negotiated the most modern parliament act of its era both nationally and globally, laying the groundwork for women’s suffrage, the independent state of Finland and its future form of government. Towards the end of his life, Mechelin actively contributed to the establishment of the international peace movement. The Mechelin project of the Prime Minister’s Office from 2020 to 2025 compiles and publishes material on Mechelin’s life's work.