Sándor Maticsák, head of the Department of Finno-Ugric Linguistics of the University of Debrecen and Petteri Laihonen, former Finnish lecturer of the university received honours awarded by Tarja Halonen former Finnish president.
The awards were handed over by Finnish ambassador Jari Vilén at the University of Debrecen on Wednesday. Sándor Maticsák was awarded the title Knight of the White Rose of Finland while Petteri Laihonen the title Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland for their work done in order to advance the cultural and educational relations between Hungary and Finland. Jyvaskyla is a sister city of Debrecen and the two cities cultivate close relationships.
On Wednesday, an all-day series of talks entitled A lappföldi Mikulástól a Nokiáig (“From the Laplander Santa Claus to Nokia”) were given at the University of Debrecen. In his welcoming speech Sándor Maticsák stressed that the Finnish language figures prominently at the Hungarian universities, so does Hungarian language at the Finnish universities. Finnish language teaching has been going on at the University of Debrecen since 1914 and the separate Finno-Ugric Department has been operating since 1952.