Our Story

The origin of the Helsinki Geoeconomics Week traces back to 2012, when Mikael Wigell initiated the geoeconomics research theme at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA). At that time, geoeconomics was a niche field, deeply rooted in the pioneering work of Edward Luttwak, David A. Baldwin, and Albert O. Hirschman.

Over the years, the analytical rigor of geoeconomics has garnered significant interest and expanded beyond initial expectations. Today, the Helsinki geoeconomics cluster stands as a globally recognized hub of excellence. Last year, this momentum culminated in the establishment of The Geoeconomics Society, an international association that unites scholars and practitioners from around the world. The Society oversees the peer-reviewed journal Law & Geoeconomics (published by De Gruyter Brill), the book series Springer Studies in Law & Geoeconomics, and the forthcoming David A. Baldwin Fund, which will soon inaugurate a best paper prize in economic statecraft.

With its secretariat based in Helsinki, the Society is proudly headquartered in this vibrant city, serving as the epicenter of global activities. Our leadership team includes Jens Hillebrand Pohl as Secretary-General, Mikael Wigell as President, and David A. Baldwin as Honorary President.

So, what is geoeconomics?

Simply put, it’s how countries use economic tools like trade, investment, and finance to achieve political goals. But there’s more to it than just the tools.

Here are some everyday examples:

  • Trade Wars
    The trade tensions between the U.S. and China, where both impose tariffs to gain economic leverage.
  • Sanctions
    Countries like the U.S. and the EU member states impose sanctions on Iran or Russia, using economic pressure to influence political decisions.
  • Investment Screening
    Governments block foreign companies from buying local firms in critical industries for national security.
  • Industrial Policy
    Countries race to dominate technologies like AI and renewable energy to influence global markets.

Each field is stupefyingly technical and surrounded by complex regulation. Different silos of experts and cottage industries of pundits have sprung up catering to each: the sanctions folks, the investment screening technocrati, the export control wonks, the AML crowd, and the foreign policy blob. But what we often miss is the big picture: how does it all fit together?

Helsinki Geoeconomics Week aims to bridge these silos, bringing together experts and strategic decision makers to explore overarching strategies and mechanisms governing the power competition at the heart of these developments. We’ll discuss how to coordinate these instruments and pool the collective wisdom of these communities for greater efficiency and impact.

Key questions we’ll tackle include:

  • How can instruments be synchronized for greater impact and less cost to taxpayers?
  • What efficiencies and learnings can we gain from coordinating these instruments?
  • How can firms, not only survive, but thrive in an age of competitive geoeconomics?

This summer, join me and experts in Helsinki for the inaugural Helsinki Geoeconomics Week. Whether you’re a business leader, strategist, investment analyst, venture capitalist, or just curious, this event is for you.

Let’s explore the intricacies of geoeconomics together in Helsinki. Be part of the conversation, be part of the story.

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About the Organisers

Helsinki Geoeconomics Week is organised by the Geoeconomics Society. Founded in Helsinki in 2023 by a group of geoeconomics scholars and curated by Mikael Wigell and Jens Hillebrand Pohl, the Geoeconomics Society gathers leading minds and voices in economic statecraft into a world spanning network.

Established as the first and as-of-yet only international learned society promoting research, education, and scientific activity in geoeconomics, an important task for the Society is to promote exchange between researchers and practitioners in the public and private sectors.

The Society’s mission is also to organize scientific symposia, seminars and other conferences and events, award grants, rewards, and prizes to deserving researchers and others who have promoted the Society’s purposes.

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