The Åland Example
In a nutshellÅland is an example of many things: a peaceful solution to a potentially violent conflict, evolving territorial autonomy, a unilingual minority language region in a bilingual country, “Islands of Peace”- demilitarisation and neutralisation, self-governance, red granite, islandness, and a strong regional identity, among others. Throughout the years, the Åland Islands Peace Institute has conducted extensive research into the Åland Example and offers a meeting point for knowledge and dialogue in order to promote better opportunities for peaceful conflict resolution and societal development. Our work and research aspires to put Åland in context through comparative, empirical, and theoretical perspectives. There is strong, international interest in the Åland Example. Individuals and groups visit Finland, Åland, and the Åland Islands Peace Institute in order to learn more about the Åland Example, an example discussed around the world.
Why “an example” and not “a model”?The use of the word “example” is deliberate. Åland is not a model that can be replicated precisely and completely anywhere else. Rather, the Åland Example should serve as a source of inspiration and perhaps, in part, as a conflict-resolution “smorgasbord”. Nevertheless, as with all smorgasbords, it has its core elements. Adequate responses to issues of identity, power-sharing and security are some of the core societal problems addressed by the Åland Example. The Åland Example is not delimited to Åland; it is also a Finnish and a Swedish Example.
“In my mind, the case of Åland is more a way of thinking than a model”
Harri Holkeri, diplomat & prime minister
“Peace is fresh produce, something we need to choose and take care of every day”
“The Åland Example, as a peaceful solution to a minority issue, was presented by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the 60th anniversary celebration of Finland’s membership into the United Nations at the Finlandia House 2015.”
“The Åland Example is no longer a purely Nordic phenomenon. The principle of self-governance, individual language, and peaceful coexistence is used as a model in conflicts around the world. According to the Swedish top diplomat, Jan Eliasson”