Game Changers seminar was a success

Published on Wednesday, 13th of April 2016

CMI held an international seminar in Helsinki on 7 April to mark its 15th anniversary. Over 600 people packed into the Finnish National theatre in Helsinki to hear about new challenges of peace mediation and conflict resolution.

The seminar tackled the changes in the familiar patterns of economic, political and welfare relations that are being radically transformed. How can violent conflicts be solved and their root causes uncovered effectively? How can we cope with such intense degrees of change and uncertainty – and do these clouds have a silver lining?

“People’s expectations about a better future can be addressed through dialogue. Supporting inclusive dialogue, and engaging women, is one cost-effective preventive measure,” said CMI’s executive director Tuija Talvitie in her key note speech. Talvitie held her speech after the welcoming words of CMI’s founder and Chairman of the Board, President Martti Ahtisaari.

President Ahtisaari opened the event.

The seminar brought together several high-level international experts. The speaker of honour was foreign policy expert and former United States deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, who discussed the challenges faced by the next President of the United States and the relations of the US with Russia.

Strobe Talbott delivering the key note address.

Also speaking were Abdullahi An-Na’im, an expert in sharia law who called for the demystification of sharia. Professor Alex de Waal, an expert on the crises of Sudan and horn of Africa discussed the importance of looking into the political funding and finance structures as a key element in conflict resolution efforts. Documentary maker Abigail Disney talked about the images of war and peace and pondered how the narratives of peace could be made more appealing. The seminar was chaired by BBC journalist Emily Buchanan.

Abdullahi An-Na´im (center) discussing with CMI’s Itonde Kakoma (left) and Nureldin Satti

Music at the seminar was provided by Kimmo Pohjonen and Eva Alkula. The event was launched by Chike Ohanwe’s interpretation of the poem Kindness by Naomi Shibab Nye. The poem was chosen for this event by Mrs. Jenni Haukio, the First Lady of Finland.

The audience was asked to participate via Twitter during the panel discussion.

Denis Matveev (right) and Hussein Al-Taee, CMI’s Ukraine and Iraq experts, respectively, participated in the panel discussion.

The seminar ended with CMI’s staff thanking the audience. Executive Director Tuija Talvitie at the forefront.

See a short video summary about the event below.

CMI Game Changers 15th Anniversary seminar: a short summary of the event from CMI on Vimeo.