Ahtisaari Day celebrated for 10th time this year

Virtual events around the country for students and teachers highlight the theme of conflict resolution.

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File picture of former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari / Credit: Tomas Whitehouse, CMI

The national Ahtisaari Day, named after former Finnish president and Nobel Peace Laureat Martti Ahtisaari, is behing held in Finland for the 10th time and the theme of the day is “Disputes are resolved by talking.”

This year the event highlights peace mediation and interaction, and works on conflict resolution in Finnish schools.

Because of the coronavirus epidemic, events will be held virtually where possible, with more than 12,000 students and teacher from high schools and vocational schools taking part.

“We live in an uncertain time and a polarized atmosphere is marked by public debate. Open and balanced conversation requires interaction skills” says Elina Lehtinen, from the Crisis Management Initiative CMI office that Ahtisaari set up.

“The feeling of being heard or of being able to share one’s own opinion in a safe atmosphere are important rights for us, human skills. In this way, disputes or conflicts can be prevented” she adds.

Some of the exercises that students and teachers can work on today include their negotiating skills; interaction and empathy; peace mediation and conflict resolution simulation.

Martti Ahtisaari, 83, served as President of Finland from 1994 to 2000, and was active for much of his working life in the area of conflict resolution and peace negotiations, for which he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.

 

File picture of students working with Ahtisaari Day materials / Credit: CMI