Ahtisaari Days in 2021: New learning platforms of conflict resolution

Published on Wednesday, 27th of July 2022

The Lennons meeting, 2021. Photo: Olli Puumalainen / CMI.

In 2021, Ahtisaari Days continued to work for the two main target groups of the project: Finnish youth and schools. Daily school life has been heavily affected by the Covid pandemic and the barriers between school life and free time have become increasingly blurred due to online schooling and the use of social media. The pandemic impeded the work of the Ahtisaari Days team as it was impossible to make physical school visits. The stronger emphasis on using technology and virtual teaching materials prompted the team to revamp the visual look and website of the project, to make the information about the project and teaching materials more accessible and easier to find.

In November 2021, Ahtisaari Days started a new collaboration with the Finnish e-learning company Funzi. This was a result of a 2020 feasibility study by CMI and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The study revealed that there was a lack of conflict resolution teaching materials available for schools. The response was to create a mobile learning course about the basics of conflict resolution for Finnish teachers and students. The course content, including its themes, tools and case studies, has been created by CMI while Funzi has dealt with the form, platform and design of the course. The course was launched in March 2022.

CMI’s young peace ambassadors, the Lennons, continued their youth-to-youth activities in 2021. The group made three podcast episodes about reconciliation in everyday life focusing on the music, food, and sports industries. The group was expanded by 13 new Lennons in 2021 and CMI now has a network of about a hundred young peace ambassadors. The Lennons had several internal and external meetings and the learning sessions continued, involving training in conflict resolution and negotiation skills. In November 2021 the Lennons met with foreign minister Pekka Haavisto.

The Ahtisaari Days managed to reach a considerable number of students and teachers during 2021. A total of 43 427 teachers and students were reached using the package of course materials. When added Ahtisaari Days social media reach to this, the total outreach is 211 025. The new openings to develop teaching material were strengthened by continuing cooperation with TAT. In 2021, 38 3 30 ninth graders did Ahtisaari Days exercises as part of the preparatory materials of a youth business village Yrityskylä.

The long pandemic and the eruption on a violent conflict close-by have significantly increased the number of uncertainties facing young people. However, the Ahtisaari Days has managed to respond to the changing needs and platforms of the youth and continues to work for wider knowledge and skills in conflict resolution.