Sharing Knowledge is a Step Towards Change

Aaro Rytkönen
Head of Secretariat
Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers

Two and a half years ago there were around thirty organisations and actors presented at the conference centre owned by the Orthodox Church of Finland in the outskirts of Helsinki. It was winter, the sea was frozen and the weather was dark, but the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. Government officials, non-governmental organisations, UN staff, and religious leaders from around the world had come together to discuss what concrete steps can be taken in order to improve the results of peace mediation in conflict settings. It was clear to all that religious and traditional peacemakers can bring a giant contribution to more effective peace building.

Even though the discussion has been started and steps have been taken, we are still on that road. The need is huge and the demand is there. Luckily, the number of interested actors has increased and continues to increase. The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers is a unique example of the ways actors who want to make a difference function. We are seeking synergies. We are strengthening the positive role of religion in difficult and challenging processes. We are supporting the daily work of those actors who live in conflict settings. They need our utmost support.

Actors in this field need peer support. One concrete step for providing this support is to share ideas and positive examples in an open space. This is why we have our website. Unfortunately, as you have noticed, our website has been rather inactive lately. This will be changed and a new life will be brought here as well.

In addition to pieces of news and other information, we want to bring life to a more informal way of communication. This blog will provide some thoughts from the life of our Network. We are planning to approach it from the Secretariat perspective and bring examples from our daily life. We hope they are of your interest. Additionally, we do believe that this is not only a venue for Network Secretariat, but for the Network as a whole. I encourage you to share your thoughts on the role of religion, the role of religions and traditional actors in peacebuilding, peacemaking and peace mediation. I dream to read concrete examples of successes in our respective contexts. This is our common space. Let’s be active for our common good.