A Serbian theatre legend in our midst.

THE CAREER of Serbian actress Svetlana Bojković has spanned nearly 40 years in television, film, and most importantly, theatre. She is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award Dobričin Prsten, and is regarded as one of the great ladies of the Serbian cultural scene. She currently calls Helsinki home, and is here not on an acting engagement, but in a somewhat different capacity – as the wife of the Serbian ambassador to Finland, Slavko Kruljević. It seemed appropriate, then, to take this opportunity to speak with her about life and culture in Serbia and Finland.

Currently living here in exile, the man Uday Hussein dubbed ‘The Hassler Journalist’ will not remain tight-lipped about the brutality of his imprisonment in Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

WHEN SixDegrees met Hussein al-Maadidi and his translator Ahmed Essouli at a pub in the Helsinki Central Railway Station, what had started off as a calm, sunny day in Helsinki swiftly turned into a dark and cramped prison cell in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, as Hussein explained his first-hand encounter with the torture and madness that prevailed inside the prison walls.

Telling stories has taken Michael Franck to Tehran, Hollywood and back again over the years.

HAVING arrived spot-on our agreed time, as we stand in the kitchen of the office that houses documentary filmmaker Michael Franck’s family business, Franck Media, the sharply dressed media producer and director is currently busily attending to the espresso machine.

Arto Mustajoki believes the mother tongue of our eastern neighbour will begin to gather popularity in Finland.

Arto Mustajoki, a globally-renowned scholar of Russian studies, a member of the Finnish Research and Innovation Council, chair of the board of the Academy of Finland and author of a book about Russian language, was nominated for the prestigious Tieto-Finlandia literature award last year. He took some time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts on the changing perceptions locally of Russia.

After leaving conflict-riddled Afghanistan behind 20 years ago, Hamed Shafae has gone on to embrace human rights from a Finnish perspective.

Currently working as a planning officer for the City of Helsinki’s Human Resources Centre, Immigration Division. Hamed Shafae’s passion for human rights was born while growing up in war-ravaged Kabul. Continuing his involvement for the past two decades while living in Finland, the key ingredient that facilitated a smooth integration for Shafae here was his extensive training in kung fu.