The Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) is an independent Finnish organisation that works to prevent and resolve violent conflicts through informal dialogue and mediation. Nobel Peace laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari founded CMI in 2000. Since then, our organisation has grown to become one of the leaders in its field.

CMI In a Nutshell

CMI works closely with all conflicting parties in some of the world’s most intractable conflicts to forge lasting peace through informal dialogue and mediation.

Founded in 2000 by Nobel Peace laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari.

CMI is now one of the leading organisations in its field.

CMI has a staff of around 80 and has ongoing commitments in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eurasia and Asia.

Conflict resolution and conflict prevention are key upstream measures that demand the active support of the international community to tackle ongoing violent conflicts and their devastating consequences. Informal actors like CMI play a crucial role in adding value to the efforts of official institutions and governments.

Since 2000, CMI has helped create spaces for negotiated solutions of violent conflicts by involving all relevant actors in the pursuit of sustainable peace. We facilitate dialogue, mediate between conflicting sides, provide capacity-building and mediation support at different stages of conflict management and peace processes, and use our expertise to support the broader peacebuilding community.

Our work is based on a commitment to long-term processes and collaboration with local partners. We work closely with conflicting parties and support them in finding common ground for negotiated solutions in unofficial settings. Our vision is based on the conviction that all violent conflicts can be resolved if there is the political will and skill to do so.

Conflict resolution and peace mediation are integral parts of foreign and security policy, and of development policy in general. Without peace and stability, there can be no worthwhile development. In addition, preventing and solving conflicts at their roots is always the most cost-efficient option, offering great rewards for a very modest financial investment.

CMI is a partner with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and works closely with key international and regional organisations. With around 80 staff members, CMI contributes to peace in the world’s most challenging areas, in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan AfricaEurasia and Asia.

We place a strong emphasis on ensuring that women have active roles in conflict management and peace processes. At CMI, we are also deeply committed to quality assurance, and work on developing our internal processes so as to meet the required standards and the public demand for results and impact. CMI has offices in Helsinki and in Brussels, a presence in selected countries, and is represented in the United States by the American Friends of CMI.

Our core principles

The starting point for all of CMI’s work is human dignity, which rests on the legacy of CMI founder Martti Ahtisaari’s lifelong work in peace mediation. A sustainable solution to any conflict must include measures for ensuring the dignity of all those affected.

The key principles of our work are honest brokerage, local ownership, inclusiveness, and complementarity. These principles are based on the mediation experience of president Ahtisaari, and our accumulated experience as an organisation in the field.

Honest brokerage 

As an independent conflict resolution actor, we are impartial and open about our role, who we work with, and our goal-orientation.

Local ownership

Our work rests on the commitment and political will of all the conflict parties and stakeholders. By ensuring local ownership, we pave the way for the sustainability of the conflict prevention and resolution efforts.


We seek to engage all the relevant actors in a conflict, which contributes to ensuring sustainability and broad-based consideration of the various conflict drivers, and discovery and development of potential solutions.


Complementarity in peacemaking efforts is ensured through coordination, communication and meetings with international actors, peer organisations and stakeholders.



Finnish non-profit
organisation that
works to prevent
and resolve violent
conflicts by involving
all relevant actors in
the effort to create
sustainable peace.


All conflicts can be resolved.


Making a difference.
Integrity in our vision.
It’s about people.


Honest brokerage.
Local ownership.

“Peace is a question of will.
All conflicts can be settled, and
there are no excuses for allowing
them to become eternal.”
– President Martti Ahtisaari, CMI's founder


Nobel Peace laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari founded CMI in 2000. After stepping down as President of Finland that year, Ahtisaari declined the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees because he wanted to focus instead on addressing the root causes of conflict. President Ahtisaari’s long-term vision with CMI was to contribute as much and as effectively as possible to solving violent conflict throughout the world.

The main tasks of the organisation in its early years were to assist Martti Ahtisaari in his numerous international assignments, to participate in policy discussions, and to advocate for capacity building in civilian crisis management. This led to CMI undertaking its own projects, at first concerning crisis management and later on expanding to peacebuilding and conflict resolution projects. CMI supported the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs as the secretariat of the Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy from 2002 through 2005.

One of CMI’s most visible assignments, the Aceh peace process, began in late 2004. CMI and its Chairman Martti Ahtisaari were asked to facilitate talks between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). A first round of talks took place in January 2005 in Helsinki. The agreement was signed on 15 August 2005. It was a result of the will and determination of the parties, the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to end almost three decades of conflict and to give the province of Aceh autonomous status within the country. CMI and President Ahtisaari continued to follow the development of the Aceh peace process until June 2012. In 2008 Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his longstanding contribution to peace mediation.

More information, including research papers and a final report of the Aceh Peace Process Follow-up Project can be found here.