The former President of Finland Mr Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 2008 for his remarkable efforts to resolve international conflicts. President Ahtisaari currently acts as Chairman of the Board of the non-profit organization Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), which he has founded, and he continues his valuable work to resolve international conflicts and to build sustainable peace. Dittmar & Indrenius is the pro bono partner of CMI. This year we have made a Christmas donation to support the valuable work of CMI.
DITTMAR & INDRENIUS
This year has been filled with turbulence and turmoil both in Finland and abroad. In the midst of fundamental changes and global crises it is easy to lose faith in the future. How could the difficult problems and conflicts that have plagued the world for decades be resolved? How can one person contribute to finding solutions?
Each one of us should take a look at how we operate in society. Are we living in a way that takes the needs of others into consideration, both at home and around the world? Do we take responsibility for our loved ones and for the world we will be leaving for future generations?
There are still far too many international and national conflicts around the world. As I said in Oslo in December 2008, I am convinced that all these conflicts are man-made and therefore can also be resolved. I admit that some of these conflicts are very persistent, such as the one currently taking place in Syria in the Middle East.
The reason for conflicts often lies in poverty and perceived injustice. Economic growth alone is not enough to cure poverty. Naturally we need economic growth that takes the environment and social aspects into consideration, but it is also increasingly important to give attention to how resources are being used in our societies. Societies that practice more equal policies also enjoy on average higher levels of trust between people, better health, longer life expectancy and a higher level of well-being in general. Nordic societies, Finland included, are good examples of this. I still firmly believe in the mutual trust that prevails in our society. We also need to keep nurturing this trust.
During tough times, we need to be able to work together on all levels of society. Trust in society must be maintained and everyone, both employees and executives, need to pull together when benefits and salaries are being cut.
The fact that we have been able to agree on things with consensus is a good sign. This sends a clear message both to ourselves and to other countries what Finland is capable of. Each one of us must do what we can to prevent excessive inequality in our society and strive to preserve the spirit of fair play by any means possible. This must not, however, mean that those individuals who think of new innovations on their own are not given an appropriate financial reward that in turn encourages new entrepreneurship.
Social exclusion and unemployment among young people must be taken seriously. We must do everything we can to get young people into the labour force. Without work, faith in the future wanes. Everyone must be given the same opportunities and resources in life so that each one of us has a possibility to take responsibility for himself or herself. Everyone must be able to build his or her own life through education and professional training.
My approach to life is to always look for the positive. I have been fortunate enough to work all my life with interesting issues and inspiring people. Sometimes I also get asked for guidance on how people should live their lives. I heard the best possible piece of advice in this respect in Namibia: "Live every day as if it was your first". Not your last, your first. That way you wake up every day thinking about all the things you could do that day. Every day is full of opportunities.
I wish you all a Peaceful Christmas and a New Year filled with new opportunities!