The keynote speaker was Mr Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Speakers included: Johannes Koskinen, Chair of the Constitutional Law Committee, Parliament of Finland, Britt Lundberg, Speaker of the Åland Parliament, Dr. Kristine Höglund, Associate Professor Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University Peace and Conflict Research, Ambassador Kai Eide, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, Dr. Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, Associate Professor, Director of The Åland Islands Peace Institute and Elisabeth Nauclér, Member of the Parliament of Finland, representing the Åland Islands. Moderator was Dr. Teija Tiilikainen, Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.
In her speech, the Director of the Åland Islands Peace Institute (ÅIPI) Dr. Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark highlighted how the three distinctcomponents of the Åland Example – the demilitarisation and neutralisation, the self-government and the guarantees for language and culture all are relavant and may be used separately and in combination as tools in many current crises and conflicts
Ambassador Kai Eide welcomed a greater interest in demilitarization as an alternative and Dr. Kristine Höglund maintained that research shows that it is less likely that conflicts are resolved through negotiated arrangements when the international community has intervened violently.
The importance of regular fora for discussion where both diplomats, civil servants and other practitioners on the one hand and researchers and representatives for the civil society can meet to discuss current issues was also emphasized. Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark wants the ÅIPI to be able to host such discussions at a Nordic level. Suggestions in this direction have already been proposed to the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Dr. Teija Tiilikainen, Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs
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