The lure of life in Canberra became obvious the moment Tuukka Kaikkonen arrived at the Australian National University to study in 2014.
Initially inspired to study archaeology, Tuukka stepped off the bus after completing the long journey from his home in a small town in northern Finland.
“It was like a summer’s day, even though I had arrived in the middle of a Canberra winter,” he recalls.
“It felt like home to me. I had researched Canberra, and soon after completing my winter course, I realised that I wanted to stay.”
“It’s all been about creating opportunities.”
Tuukka’s world took another turn when he decided to study a Master of International Relations (Advanced) at the Coral Bell School – an opportunity that opened greater doors.
His thesis on the ethics of war won a university medal and a further opportunity when he was accepted into the Bell School’s PhD program.
Supervised by Associate Professor Cian O’Driscoll, Tuukka will test his natural curiosity by taking a deeper dive into the ethics of war that have yet to be addressed by diligent research.
“If we put some ethical considerations on war, what are the causalities? What are the ethics of war on the environment and heritage sites? What are the long-term consequences of technology? What are the effects of war on cultural heritage?
These are some of the questions I am beginning to formalise my PhD with, but the joy of research at PhD level is to further the interest in the topic and I’m hoping to find many more good questions along the way.”
An avid lover of nature, Tuukka has found his feet on Canberra’s many open trails where inspiration is in abundance.
“I’ve lived on campus my whole time here and really love that, but I also love to get out and go for a run which has given me some great perspective on my academic life,” he says.
“I want to stay in academia and keep teaching. I’ve been very lucky to have great supporters along the way and am very thankful for that.
“Something I’ve learnt is that it really pays to think about what kind of impact your research will have – it’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint.”