I have yet to meet Sanna Marin in person, because the COVID-19 pandemic has thwarted our tradition of Nordic leaders meeting regularly. Instead of meeting face-to-face, we have kick-started our vision of being digital front runners and met online. I watched virtually as Sanna began her role as Prime Minister of Finland, taking office just weeks before the country’s first case of corona­virus was diagnosed in January 2020. New to the job, Sanna did not have much of a honeymoon period, but she adapted quickly. By implementing a lockdown in March and banning travel in parts of the country, Sanna helped to keep corona­virus case levels at one-fifth of the European Union average.

Globally, Sanna Marin has been celebrated for becoming Prime Minister so young. However, she is not a political novice, and during the pandemic, she has proved that good leadership does not depend on age. Times of crisis show us what people are made of. She’s an important part of a strong team of women political leaders in the Nordic-Baltic region. I look forward to our cooperation in the future. And being able to meet.

Solberg is the Prime Minister of Norway

Photograph by Marie Hald—INSTITUTE for TIME

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