Golden Gate Wing Guest Speaker Archive

Presentation Date: January 23, 2014

Stina Katchadourian

Stina Katchadourian was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1937, the younger of two sisters. Her father, Jarl Lindfors, was a forest supervisor. Her mother, Nunni Blomquist, was a physical education teacher. Stina, her six-years-older sister, and their mother became nomadic refugees within Finland during three distinct conflicts:

-- 1939-1940 the defensive Winter War that Finland fought alone against invading Soviet troops

-- 1940-1944 the Continuation War as a co-belligerent with the Axis Powers against the Soviets

-- 1944-1945 the Lapland War (after an armistice agreement with the Allied Powers) to expel occupying German troops from Finnish territory. Stina's book, “The Lapp King's Daughter”, focuses on this little-known war in the Arctic.

“By the end of hostilities, Finland managed to defend its independence, but had to cede nearly 10% of its territory, including its second largest city, Viipuri, and pay a large amount of war reparations to the Soviet Union. As a result of this territorial loss, many Finnish Karelians fled or were evacuated from their homes, relocating to areas that remained within the borders of Finland.” -- Wikipedia

While Stina’s father was serving in the Finnish army, his family evacuated several times to various locations, eventually to a small village right on the Arctic Circle before fleeing to neutral Sweden in October 1944.

After Germany surrendered to the Allies in 1945, the family reunited and Stina resumed her education at Brando High School in Helsinki. While attending college in Finland, her first exposure to the US was a year as a student at the University of Wisconsin. She graduated from Helsinki University in 1959 with a degree in Political Science and English. During her time at the University, she worked as a journalist for radio and newspapers, a job she continued to do throughout her career.

In 1960, Stina left for Peru where she spent a year and a half as a social worker in the slums of Lima, Peru.

In 1964, Stina married Herant Katchadourian, a physician from Lebanon. They spent two years there, working together on a research project in the Bekaa Valley.

In 1966, they moved to Stanford, California where Stina was awarded her master’s degree in 1967. They have one daughter, Nina, who is now an artist in New York, and a son, Kai, a professional athlete (windsurfer) who is married to a Finnish woman. They have Stina’s and Herant's one grandchild. A writer, journalist, and literary translator, Stina has authored five books. She and her husband reside in Stanford and spend their summers on an island in the Baltic.