State Senator Sonya Halpern is traveling to Finland and Estonia as a member of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program hosted by The Hunt Institute.

Halpern’s mission is to uncover the secrets behind the educational success of the European Union nations.

The Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, now in its ninth cohort, is dedicated to cultivating leadership and informed policy development in the field of education.

“Given the achievements in educational equality and excellence acknowledged in Finland and Estonia, I am eager to explore their educational models to gain invaluable perspective and scalable solutions to bring back to the Peach State,” Halpern said in a press release. “As the sole elected official from Georgia on this trip, I appreciate the opportunity to represent our state and gain knowledge that could prove valuable in crafting new legislation or policies to help young people in Georgia.”

The tour begins in Finland, a nation that has undergone a remarkable transformation of its education system. In just 15 years, Finland has received international acclaim for its exceptional performance in mathematics, science, and reading on global assessments.

The next leg of this journey unfolds in Estonia, where substantial strides have been taken to bridge the achievement gap between the wealthiest and most underprivileged students. These efforts have yielded a more skilled, educated, and globally competitive workforce.

Founded in 2001 and affiliated with Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, The Hunt Institute is a leading voice in the movement to improve public education. The institute collaborates with a nationwide network of partners to build visionary leadership and drive strategic action for better educational outcomes. For more information, visit

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