Jenni Elina Haukio was born in Pori on 7 April 1977. She attended a music class in comprehensive school, sang in a choir and studied the accordion, completing a music school certificate. She was active in athletics for many years and also coached children and adolescents.
Haukio graduated from the University of Turku with a Master in Political Science degree in 2001. Her studies included political science, international relations, political history and economics.
She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests concern the Internet and politics, specifically the impact of IT on Finnish party politics. She has published a review and two articles on election engines.
Jenni Haukio began her employment career as a research assistant in the Department of Political Science at the University of Turku. She then became a Communications Officer for the Shortsea Promotion Centre Finland in the Pori unit of the Centre for Maritime Studies.
She was a Parliamentary MP Assistant in Finland’s Parliament from 2003 to 2005 and Executive Director of the Satakunta district of the National Coalition Party in Pori from 2005 to 2007. From 2007 to January 2012, she was the Communications Manager of the National Coalition Party in Helsinki.
Jenni Haukio took up her present job as Programme Director of the Turku International Book Fair in February 2012. The Turku Book Fair was awarded the best book fair event in Finland in 2016.
She also works as a columnist at Seura and Kotiliesi magazines.
Jenni Haukio has published three collections of poetry, and her poems have also been anthologised. In 1999, her debut collection Paitasi on pujahtanut ylleni (Your shirt has slipped over me) won the national Runo-Kaarina competition. Her latest collection, Sinä kuulet sen soiton (You hear its music), was published by Savukeidas Kustannus in 2009.
In 2017, to honour Finland’s 100 years as an independent nation, Haukio edited the poetry anthology Katso pohjoista taivasta – Runoja Suomesta (Look at the northern sky – Poems from Finland). This anthology is currently ranked number 1 on the list of best-selling books in Finland (2017).
Jenni Haukio’s hobbies include literature, sports, outdoor activities, photography, house plants, gardening and Finnish design. She is interested in and works to promote Finnish cultural heritage, the wellbeing of children and adolescents, equality policies, nature and the environment, animal rights, war veteran issues, and the arts.
Jenni Haukio married Sauli Niinistö in 2009. They have a son, Aaro, who was born in February 2018. Their family also includes Lennu, a Boston Terrier.
As the spouse of the President of the Republic, Haukio works actively in patronising several major organisations such as UNICEF Finland, Save the Children Finland and the Mannerheim League for Child Protection.
In 2016, Haukio invented and conceptualized the Tiny Stories campaign for international UNICEF, inviting writers from all over the world to write a short story on the theme, ‘What I want for every child’.
The Tiny Stories campaign was a huge success, gathering over 270 prominent novelists, playwrights and poets from over 45 countries in Asia, Africa, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Authors such as Paulo Coelho, Chimamanda Adichie, Christina Lamb and Nuruddin Farah wrote their stories sharing their vision of a world in which all children enjoy the right to survive and thrive.
Haukio is currently on study leave (2017-), working on her doctoral thesis at the University of Helsinki.