The main objective of the Finnish Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation is to support dialogue between cultures and to contribute to the visibility of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership through intellectual, cultural and civil society exchanges. The Network promotes knowledge, recognition and mutual respect between religions and beliefs, cultures and values, and encourages initiatives which aim at promoting dialogue, hence ensuring diversity and pluralism in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Goals of the Finnish Network are:
- Strengthening the knowledge of the cultures and civil societies of the Mediterranean countries in Finland
- Activating the Finnish civil society actors in inter-cultural dialogue with the civil society actors in Mediterranean countries, particularly Middle Eastern and North African societies
- Promoting the activities of the Anna Lindh Foundation in Finland
- Extending the Finnish Network and its activities around the country
- Counselling the members and helping them participate in the calls for proposals and activities of the Anna Lindh Foundation.
Currently there are over 100 members in the Finnish Network, most of them are CSOs, public organisations or individual members working on different themes related to cultural dialogue. The Network is open to all NGOs; public, local and regional actors; public and private non-profit foundations; other non-profit organisations; social entrepreneurs, for-profit organisations with socially sustainable goals and individual members who adhere to the principles and to the mission of the Anna Lindh Foundation and whose work is based on democratic, pluralistic, and multilateral values.
The Finnish Network is financially supported by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Anna Lindh Foundation. The Head of Network is selected via a call for tenders by the MFA.
The Head of Network is expected to conduct the coordination in a transparent and democratic manner. The work of the coordinators is supported and steered by a steering committee, whose members consist of the coordinators, a representative of the Finnish MFA, and at least three members elected by the members of the Network. The steering committee is selected for a 2-year term.
Finland has been an active member of the Anna Lindh Foundation since the beginning in 2005.
The coordination of the Finnish network has always been in the hands of a research institute: until 2014 the Head of the Finnish Network was the Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI), which is a multidisciplinary research centre conducting research on the causes of war, on non-violent resolution of conflicts, and on conditions for peace. TAPRI is an independent research unit forming a part of the Tampere University. From July 2014 till April 2018, and again since the beginning of the 2019, the Head of Finnish Network has been the Foundation of the Finnish Institute in the Middle East. Since mid 2022 Villa Elba has become the coordinator.
The Finnish network encourages actors from all areas of the cultural dialogue to join. In the past years, the network has had active members especially from the fields of research and interfaith dialogue.
Villa Elba provides information on the ALF upon request as well as actively promotes the visibility of ALF in Finland by informing, reporting and advertising its activities in social, cultural and human affairs.