The Finnish Institute of International Affairs was founded in 1961 on the initiative of the Paasikivi Society and until the end of 2006 remained a private state-assisted institute independent of the Government and any political party, and maintained by The Foundation for Foreign Policy Research. It is an independent research institute whose mission is to produce high quality, topical information on international relations and the EU. The decision to establish The Foundation for Foreign Policy Research was made by the Paasikivi Society in November 1959. Institute didn’t take off until August 1961 after receiving a grant of 500,000 Finnish Marks from the Ministry of Education.
The Institute realizes its aims by conducting research as well as by organizing domestic and international seminars and publishing reports on its research and current international issues. The Institute also publishes a journal, Ulkopolitiikka (Finnish Journal of Foreign Affairs), and maintains a specialized library. The Institute maintains active international contacts in their activities and its researchers participate in public debate by writing articles for newspapers, periodicals and specialist journals. They also take part in seminars, conferences and similar events both at home and abroad. The researchers lend their expertise to various media. Similarly to universities, the Institute does not have a common view on issues related to its field of research and each researcher comments on topical issues in the news media based his or her own expertise and research.
The university conducts different research programs like The European Union research programme which focusses on EU's global and regional role and it includes the internal dynamics of the Union. The main research themes are the EU's external relations and institutional development. The European Union research programme aims to produce high quality analysis, and its activities are geared to support political decision-making and to the wider public. The programme takes part in major European research networks, and continues to expand and reinforce this cooperation.
The EU's Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia research programme studies the EU's eastern environment with a special focus on Russia's domestic, foreign and security policy.The main research themes are Russia’s political and economic developments as well as its foreign and security policies, Regional dynamics in the post-Soviet space and The EU’s Eastern Partnership and EU policies towards Russia. The programme scrutinises the development of the EU’s Eastern Partnership with Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Europe’s policies towards Russia.
The Global Security research programme approaches global security challenges within the framework of broad security. This programme seeks to understand the global trajectories of security that have significance for the European and Finnish security environments. This program focussing on The implications of the geopolitical shift from a transatlantic to a Pacific context, The emergence of new global powers, foremost China, The future of global governance structures, international institutions and normative frameworks and The contours of the emerging global order.