FCA Global Leadership Team strengthens partnerships in US and Canada 

Five people pose for a photo in a car park in front of the White House in Washington, DC, USA
From left to right: Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi, Executive Director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers; Wycliffe Nsheka, FCA Uganda Country Director; Ikali Karvinen, FCA Deputy Executive Director; Patricia Maruschak, FCA Ukraine Country Director; Berhanu Haile, FCA Somalia Country Director.

Finn Church Aid America welcomed the five members of the FCA Global Leadership Team to Washington, DC and Toronto, Canada. The team met with leading government agencies and partner organisations supporting global peace and development. 

THE WEEK-LONG MISSION sought to foster collaboration; promote FCA expertise in the areas of education, livelihood and peace; and advocate for continued resourcing in development aid. 

The mission presented an opportunity for FCA to engage with the US government in Washington DC, including with the White House National Security Council and US Agency for International Development (USAID). FCA presented on its work on its thematic focus areas and engaged in lively discussions on innovative mechanisms to solve some of the most pressing challenges in fragile contexts.

A smiling man in a suit carrying a rucksack poses for a photo in a hallway in front of a wooden door, which is flanked by the US flag and the flag of the Vice President of the United States.
Ikali Karvinen, Deputy Executive Director of FCA stands in the halls of the National Security Council at the White House in Washington, DC.

The mission involved engaging with US-based foundations, including Global Partnership for Education, DAI Global, Creative Associates and Dexis Consulting, emphasising FCA’s strengths in creative industries, localisation agendas, and country-specific programming, such as its programming in Ukraine, Somalia and Uganda.

During the week, the Embassy of Finland in Washington, DC worked with FCA and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (Peacemakers Network) to host a joint event titled, ‘Getting Peace Right: Strategies for Sustainable Peacebuilding and Community Development’.

Convening stakeholders from the United States Governments, DC-based embassies and broader civil society, this event underscored the importance of education, inclusion and innovative partnerships to strengthen sustainable peace and development around the world.

A man with a microphone speaks at a podium bearing the logo of the Embassy of Finland.
Mikko Hautala, Ambassador of Finland to the United States, opened the joint event. Photo: Embassy of Finland in Washington, DC.

Foundation of sustainable development

“FCA sees quality education as the foundation of sustainable development. It sustains democracy, provides the keys to solving the climate crisis and getting a decent job, and it is the cornerstone of sustainable peace efforts,” remarked Dr. Tomi Jarvinen, Executive Director of FCA, at the event.

A panel of five people sit on a stage taking part in a discussion. The flags of Finland, the US, the EU and NATO are behind them. An audience sits in front.
A panel of FCA experts, academics and US government officials gathered for a special event at the Finnish embassy in Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, representatives from the US government were keen to learn about FCA’s and the Peacemakers Network’s experience in investing in partnerships, especially in fragile contexts.

“Under the nexus approach, we need to think about new partnerships to invest in fragile economies and build sustainable infrastructures to support sustainable peace,” shared Director Elizabeth Pelletreau, Director of the Office of Assistance for Africa of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. Department of State.

Canada meetings supported education, peace work

A number of smiling people pose for a photo on a staircase
In Canada, FCA’s Global Leadership Team met members of the ACT Canada Forum.

In Canada, the team met with members of the ACT Canada Forum. Finn Church Aid is a founding member of the ACT Alliance and the team welcomed the opportunity to touch base with Alliance partners like the Primate’s World Relief and Development Foundation (PWRDF), United Church of Canada (UCC) and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR).  Canadian donors like the Canadian Foodgrains Bank are essential in our lifesaving cash support programmes in South Sudan and elsewhere.

At a meeting with the Canada Ukraine Foundation, the Leadership Team were able to present and discuss ongoing work in Ukraine supporting safe access to quality education, while also exchanging ideas on wider education in emergencies work.

Meeting with War Child Canada, the teams found many common interests, especially in South Sudan and Uganda where both organisations work with education and livelihood projects.

FCA’s global network is a crucial keystone to the success of not only active peace, livelihood and education projects, but wider collaboration through sister organisations like the Network for Traditional and Religious Peacemakers, Women’s Bank and Teachers Without Borders.

Thanks to robust support from our North American partners and donors, we are able to leverage these networks to continue our work to support the most vulnerable people.

Read more about FCA programming in Uganda, Ukraine, South Sudan and Somalia