(column in Helsinki University Bulletin 4/2009)
So, Dr Torsti has not yet arrived,” the minister says to his secretary as he walks into the waiting room of his office and scans the people in the room. “Yes she has, she is waiting for you there in the corner,” the secretary
whispers, blushing, and nods towards me as I sit on the couch and pretend to be reading.
“Oh, I am very sorry, Dr Torsti, I expected you to look different,” says the minister apologetically and leads me with smooth Balkan style into his office in central Sarajevo. We are to negotiate about his support for an educational project I am in charge of. When a Bosnian minister says “different” he actually means “male” and “older”.
Therefore, working in the masculine Balkan culture has taught me