Conflicts caused by people can be solved by people—whether they are international conflicts or schoolyard arguments. Espoo will celebrate the annual Ahtisaari Days on 15 November with this year’s theme Everyone is a peacemaker, looking at dispute resolution and peacemaking from various perspectives.
Talk to resolve conflicts
Secondary and upper secondary school students in Espoo will spend Ahtisaari Days getting to know peace mediation, practicing negotiation and learning conflict resolution skills under the tutelage of experts from the Crisis Management Initiative, an organisation founded by former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In the morning, President Ahtisaari will visit Kirkkojärvi school where pupils will hold a celebration of reconciliation and peace. Espoonlahti upper secondary school and Mattlidens gymnasium will hold an event on Finland’s reconciliation and unification after the 1918 war. President Ahtisaari will present the peer-selected student mediators from these schools with peace doves.
Can peace be designed?
In the afternoon, Aalto University will host a public event beginning with a celebratory interview with President Ahtisaari. Marko Ahtisaari, Artistic Director of the Helsinki Festival, will also join the discussion. The interview will be followed by a panel discussion in English on possibilities and means to design peace, featuring Aalto University experts on water management, collaborative design and social computing.
Programme | Dipoli, Kaleva Hall
15:30 Welcoming words by President Ilkka Niemelä, Aalto University
Interview with President Martti Ahtisaari and Artistic Director of the Helsinki Festival Marko Ahtisaari. Interviewed by Elina Lehtinen, Director, Communications and Fundraising, CMI (in Finnish)
Aalto University student case presentation: working with Stanford University Peace Innovations Lab
16:10 Panel discussion: Designing Peace (in English)
Postdoctoral researcher Claudia Garduño García, Design Department, Aalto University
Postdoctoral researcher Matti Nelimarkka, Department of Computer Science, Aalto University
Chairman of the Board Alexander Stubb, CMI
Professor Olli Varis, Department of Built Environment, Aalto University
Moderator: CEO Piia Kuosmanen, Paragraaffi
Several auxiliary events (in Finnish)
Several auxiliary events will also take place in Espoo during Ahtisaari Days.
All Finnish-speaking schools in Espoo will hold a special participation and democratic action week around Ahtisaari Days. Swedish Education and Cultural Services have dedicated the entire year to communality and respectful encounters.
In October, the eighth-graders of Lintumetsä school planned and implemented 14 brave peace-making actions for the benefit of their community in cooperation with the City of Espoo, using the Gutsy Go method. Thei goal is to continue efforts next spring in other Espoo schools.
On 13 November 2018 at 17:30, Sello Library will be the venue of panel discussion Why Yemen, Iraq or South Sudan touch Espoo? The event is organised in cooperation with the Espoo Multicultural Advisory Board. Several libraries will also hold book exhibitions on peace mediation and reconciliation.
On 15 November 2018 at 18, an Ubuntu night will be held in the foyer of the Espoo Cultural Centre. The event highlights themes that were important to Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist and the first black president of South Africa: human rights, peace, freedom and democracy. One of the speakers is Hussein Al-Taee, Advisor at Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), an organisation working to resolve conflicts across the world.
On Saturday 17 November 2018 at 16–21, the Tapiola youth centre will host the Maailma Tapiolassa vol. 2 (The World in Tapiola, vol. 2) event where the youth centre will declare itself as a hate-free zone. The versatile event programme will be built around the theme of non-discrimination.
City of Espoo employees will also attend a lecture, How to build a better world?, which was quickly fully booked. Another training event during Ahtisaari Days will look at the supervisor’s role as mediator, providing attendees with tools to solve conflicts.
Nobel Peace Laureate Martti Ahtisaari founded the Crisis Management Initiative organisation in 2000 after his presidency. The organisation works to prevent and resolve violent conflicts through informal dialogue and mediation. CMI is currently one of the leaders in its field. Ahtisaari Days are the most important part of CMI’s global education work in Finland. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is a long-term partner of Ahtisaari Days.