An emoji for forgiving? Campaign launched in Finland is crowdsourcing ideas

Forgiving increases peace, and there’s no better time to focus on the theme than on the International Day of Peace. None of the current emojis says ”I forgive you”. FCA Network for Peacemakers is one of the partner organizations in the Forgivemoji campaign, launched in Finland this autumn, crowdsourcing ideas for an emoji to be used for forgiving. The winning emoji will be introduced to the official Unicode collection at the end of this year.

You can still join the campaign:  #forgivemoji

The ultimate goal of the Forgivemoji campaign is to get forgivemoji added to the list of emojis.  In November this year, the campaign team will decide on the best idea and send it to the Unicode Consortium. Unicode manages the emoji list and provides framework for services and device manufacturers to use them.

Unicode updates its emoji list once a year. For example, in 2019, Unicode announced they would be adding 59 new emojis to the selection, with variations totalling at 230. The process of introducing a new emoji can take two years, and the application must include explanation for the use and frequency of the emoji.

On the campaign’s website, visitors can vote from a selection of emoji designs or submit their own artwork and sketches. The original idea for the forgivemoji campaign came from a surprising source – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Currently, the ELFC is celebrating their #rauha (Eng. peace) theme year, which highlights peace as a national focus in Finland.  

”In our modern digital communication culture, emojis are an essential way of expressing human feelings beyond words. We were surprised to realise that the official emoji selection has dozens of different cats and even two designs of zombies, but there isn’t an emoji for forgiveness. Through crowdsourcing ideas for the design of an emoji for forgiveness, this campaign also strives to promote a message of peace and mutual understanding the world over,” says Mr Tuomo Pesonen, Communications Director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, one of the founding organisations of the #forgivemoji campaign.

Partnering with a Nobel peace laureate

To kickstart the campaign, the ELCF partnered with various charitable and peace-building organisations, including Felm, Finn Church Aid, Helsinki Deaconess Foundation, and the National Movement for Reconciliation. Another important partner is Crisis Management Initiative CMI, the conflict-resolving organisation founded by former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mr Martti Ahtisaari.

”Our vision comes from President Ahtisaari – all conflicts can be solved. What people has started, people can end. Emojis are a modern way to use dialogue and forgiveness is an integral part of that dialogue,” says Elina Lehtinen, Director of Communications & Fundraising at CMI.

Sara Linnoinen from Finn Churd Aid’s peace network highlights the role forgiveness plays in creating peace.

”Peace is vital for people to be able to lead safe lives in their home countries. Forgiveness is a very important part of peace-creation,” Linnoinen says.

 Additional information:



Finn Church Aid
Sara Linnoinen
Acting Head of Secretariat, Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers
+358 406 216 085