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Press Releases, 09.11.2017 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Foreign Minister Soini to visit Finnish schools: “In a society where everybody feels integrated, the risk of radicalisation diminishes”

Press release 193/2017
9 Nov. 2017

Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini will make a series of visits to Finnish schools. The aims of the visits are to enhance upper secondary school students’ knowledge of what foreign policy actions Finland is taking in order to prevent violent radicalisation, and to try to make the youth more critical towards radicalisation.

The series of school visits will start in connection with the Ahtisaari Days on 16 November from the Tikkurila upper secondary school in Vantaa. The Minister will continue the visits later this year and next year.

The seventh annual mediation event, the Ahtisaari Days, will be held in November.  Foreign Minister Soini has marked the Ahtisaari Days every year by paying visits to schools. 

The purpose of the Ahtisaari Days is to raise awareness of mediation at all levels in society. Young people become aware of conflicts in one way or another. Wars in different parts of the world come close through many channels, not to speak about the media, and we all face disagreement in our daily lives.  The aim is to make mediation and conciliation a part of everyone's daily life. The Ahtisaari Days is therefore a natural choice for a kick-off event of school visits focusing on violent radicalisation.

“Conflicts lay a fertile breeding ground for radicalisation and mediation is a means to resolve them. Sustainable peace may be achieved only by involving all parties in the discussion, including women, youth and different ethnic and religious groups,” describes Foreign Minister Soini the role of mediation in the prevention of radicalisation.

During the visits, Foreign Minister Soini will talk not only about mediation but also about four other foreign policy matters, in which foreign and security policy is used to prevent and fight radicalisation. These are active human rights policy, empowerment of youth and women, poverty reduction, and crisis management.

“In the implementation of its foreign policy, Finland works in many significant ways to prevent violent radicalisation. Young people everywhere in the world play an important role in this work. I therefore want to speak about this matter particularly with them. First here in Finland, but also abroad,” says the Foreign Minister.

Radicalisation is a process in which an individual assumes more and more violent extremist political, social or religious views. Violent radicalisation refers to using, threatening with, encouraging or justifying violence based on one’s own view of the world or on ideological grounds.  There are always several reasons for radicalisation. Factors that may lead to radicalisation are associated with individuals, their situation in life and society. A sense of social exclusion, discrimination and racism are mentioned among the most important underlying factors.

“In a society where everybody feels integrated, the risk of radicalisation diminishes” It is important to create favourable horizons for young people in particular. Meaningful activities and a source of income are the best tools for reducing violent radicalisation,” Foreign Minister Soini underlines.

Inquiries: Riikka Taivassalo, Special Adviser to Foreign Minister Soini, tel. +358 46 923 4581.

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

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