Antti Pentikäinen to lead peace mediation network started on the UN’s initiative for three years

Antti Pentikäinen, Executive Director of Finn Church Aid, will move to lead the Network of Religious and Traditional Leaders for an assignment of three years next spring. The UN and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the two largest intergovernmental cooperation organs in the world, are among the establishing members of the network. In addition, the network has partnership with tens of renowned organisations that support local peace mediation in conflict areas around the world.

The network, which is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, is growing strongly, and its international expectations are high. Pentikäinen’s assignment is part of the FCA support aimed at developing UN’s peace mediation. The contribution of local and religious leaders in peace mediation will become more important in the future.

“It was already decided that Finn Church Aid will continue as the secretariat for the network for the coming three years. Pentikäinen’s assignment will highlight FCA’s strong commitment to the network, its development and through it, supporting the work of religious and traditional peace workers”, Aaro Rytkönen, Director of the network’s secretariat, emphasises.

“In 2013, Finn Church Aid started as the secretariat of the peace mediation network, based in alliance of the UN. Pentikäinen‘s role in this has been very central. I’m glad that we can strengthen our emphasis on peace mediation work and that Pentikäinen can focus on this field full-time” Anni Vepsäläinen, Chair of FCA’s Board of Directors, says.

“There are a lot of expectation placed on the Network of Religious and Traditional Leaders, both from the UN and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, which is funding the network. Getting Muslim leaders involved as equal partners is especially important”, Antti Pentikäinen says.

As Pentikäinen moves to the network, Finn Church Aid will seek an acting Executive Director for a term. Recruitment for the role will be started immediately, and Pentikäinen will move to his new assignment when the new acting Executive Director starts in the spring of 2015.