Ministry for Foreign Affairs to create communication that will promote peace and reconciliation in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is planning and creating communication that will promote peace and reconciliation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Communication will focus on young people and the faith that young people hold in their own ability to contribute to society.
The communication will be influenced by multidimensional objectives related to migration movements. Communication will aim to provide correct information on seeking asylum, human trafficking, repatriation and other themes related to migration. Communication that will build peace and reconciliation will focus on influencing the root causes behind migration movements that violate provisions, such as the exclusion of youths, hate speech, violent radicalisation and terrorism.

“We hope that the communication we create, for example in Iraq, will reflect on Europe and also have a positive impact on current affairs in Finland. With regard to Iraq, timely issues include, for example, a well-functioning system for the repatriation of Iraqi citizens whose asylum application has been refused in Finland and the reopening of the Finnish embassy in Bagdad,” says Vesa Häkkinen, Director of the Unit for Communications on Current Affairs.

Communication on migration movements will be carried out with annual appropriations allocated by Finland’s Parliament. Communication will be carried out in cooperation with, for example, the Ministry of the Interior and the Finnish Immigration Service. The ultimate objective of migration movement communication created by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is to increase the amount of correct information available on Finland and reduce the number of unfounded applications for asylum submitted to Finland.

Children and young people make up a significant share of the population in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Around 40 per cent of the population in both countries is under the age of 14. It has been estimated that 60% of the population is under the age of 25. It is logically fundamental that young people take part in building society. In countries where conditions are unstable, this will also mean including young people in the activities that will improve the stability of areas and build peace.

The aim for this year will be to form a group of young ambassadors for peace through which communication will be disseminated to the local community and environment. The idea of ambassadors for peace and extending the project to Afghanistan will bring a new perspective to the projects. Måndag, a creative agency with experience in societal communication, themes related to peace, and work with young people, was selected as the implementer of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ communication project.

“During the project, we will aim to identify the opportunities that young people have to take part in work that will promote peace in their own lives and environments. Additionally, we want to combine the thoughts and experiences that young people from Iraq and Finland have on their ability to exert an influence,” Arto Sivonen from Måndag explains.

Activities in last year’s communication project included organising workshops and video projects that encouraged young Iraqis to take part in dialogue for peace. The project was headed by the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, which made it possible for Finnish higher education students to take part in the project. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has also created communication to build peace and prevent violent radicalisation in Somalia, where journalist Wali Hashi filmed an anti-terrorism documentary series geared at young people.