The Åland Islands Peace Institute in Mariehamn, Finland, conducts projects and research into peace and conflict issues in a broadly defined sense from the vantage-point of Åland and the special status that Åland enjoys under international law. It focuses on autonomy in various forms, -minority-related issues, demilitarisation and conflict management. The Institute is a member of several national and international networks of organisations working on closely related issues. The Institute was founded in 1992 as an independent charitable foundation. The Steering Board makes decisions relating to the Institute’s overall remit, while the Research Council is responsible for the Institute’s research activities. The Åland Islands Peace Institute has consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC.
The Institute regularly publishes books and reports in these areas. By arranging seminars and conferences and through a growing -library that is open to the public, the Institute serves as a meeting-point for Åland, the -Nordic countries and the Baltic Sea region.
Autonomy and conflict management seminars are arranged with groups from conflict-ridden regions around the world.
The Institute runs a project called Educating for Peace in Åland’s schools. The aim is to introduce knowledge and experience about conflict management, non-violence, tolerance and school mediation in local schools. The Peace Institute runs this project in collaboration with the Åland Government and the schools.
This co-operation is based on the experiences gained and methods developed at the Nendre Centre for Women and Children in Vilnius, Lithuania. Nendre was established in 1998 by the Åland Islands Peace Institute and the Devyndarbe Women’s Club. Today the Centre offers social services to single mothers and their children. It provides support to the mothers, day care for small children and afternoon activities for schoolchildren. Nendre has become recognized as one of the leading organisations in the field of gender equality education and promotion in Lithuania.
Since 2005 Nendre has been sharing its experience with organisations in Belarus and Kaliningrad. The goal is to give marginalised groups the strength to manage their problems and take control of their own lives. Project initiatives include training, counselling and -development activities for women and children.
The Åland Islands Peace Institute has also helped to spread the “girls’ group” method in Lithuania. This method, originally developed in the Nordic countries and adapted to local conditions, helps to -strengthen young girls’ self-awareness and prevent trafficking. The method is now also being introduced in Belarus.
Conciliation is a free service. The idea is that the parties through meetings and discussions should be able to agree on an indemnification, e.g. monetary compensation or a work performance. A conciliation session brings together the parties to the breach or dispute and two voluntary, trained and impartial mediators.