FINLAND AND PRESENT-DAY CONFLICTS
The foundations of Finnish society are equality, wellbeing and freedom of speech. This is now a prosperous and open democracy. But things weren’t always this good! Not all that long ago Finland was a poor country on the fringe of Europe. Finland’s history, both distant and recent, has given us a good grounding in how to create and maintain peace and handle conflicts constructively.
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. The Finnish welfare state, its legal and political systems and other institutions have been many decades in the making. And they are still being developed all the time – after all, no human society can ever be complete, let alone perfect. One of the most important things in developing Finnish society was, and still is, mutual trust. Trust is not something that comes about by itself – it must be promoted and maintained through hard work and patience, at all levels of society and by everyone.
The exercises grouped together under this theme of Finland and present-day conflicts is a peacemaking exercise that gives students chance to “step inside” a realistic conflict situation. The package also includes many materials for developing the skills needed in everyday peacemaking and problem-solving. The overall idea behind this theme is that it is important to think about ways in which Finland’s experience in building peace and maintaining peace at home could be used to help others, in all parts of the world. Making this happen might not always be easy, but it is always possible. And it is certainly the right thing to do.