Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: Foreign Ministry continues to promote youths’ peace work in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting the Salam project

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The Foreign Ministry’s Salam project, which promotes peace and reconciliation, will continue in the form of annual workshops until 2023. The project aims to provide Iraqi and Afghan youth with opportunities for networking and accumulating knowledge about peace work and about how to use media skills as a way of exerting influence.

In 2019, the Salam for Peace project created a foundation for a network of young peace ambassadors. The project attracted wide attention especially in Iraq, and close to 1,100 young Iraqis applied for the programme. The three-day workshops that were organised were attended by eleven Iraqi and eight Afghan youths. 

“The workshop gave me much information that I can use in my work in medicine. I had some ideas about peace before but the workshop offered me practical skills that will be useful in negotiations and reconciliation, for example. In addition to that, I got new friends,” says Nazir Ahmad Shekari, who participated in a workshop in Afghanistan last year.

“I think that I learned a lot about the significance of peace in the short time. All the themes that were handled in the workshop were interesting and I’m looking forward to being able to share my experiences and skills with others,” says Maryam Hussaini, another participant in the workshop in Afghanistan.

The participants or peace ambassadors are selected based on applications submitted online. We try to find young men and women from different backgrounds and with varied experience of life.

“Few young people have been represented in peace work in Afghanistan. In the shadow of the current situation, it is very important to emphasise young people's role in peacebuilding and to offer them new ways to be heard at the local level,” says Shakiba Adil, responsible producer of the workshops in Afghanistan.

This year, the workshops’ themes are peacebuilding, the climate crisis, identification of propaganda and tackling it, as well as conflict resolution. In addition, youth will practice effective communication and various storytelling methods.

“The situation in Iraq is constantly changing, but after the war the country is set to progress towards reconstruction. Finnish institutions have a good reputation in Iraq, and therefore we are genuinely in a position to make a change,” says Mustafa Abdulameer, responsible produces of the workshops in Iraq.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has commissioned Måndag, a creative agency, to carry out the Salam projects. Other actors engaged in the project are local youth organisations and a Finnish working group, consisting of Adil and Abdulameer and Elina Hirvonen, the author. The project’s progress can be viewed on its Facebook page, Salam for Peace.

Inquiries:

Rim Mezian, Communications Coordinator, Unit for Communications on Current Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 905

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.

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