Press Release
December 1st, 2022
CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation

A 26-hour-long moment of silence that the whole world should hear

There are 103 million* people in the world who have been displaced by war, violence, persecution, and human rights violations. Starting on Independence Day of Finland, the conflict resolution organization CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation will hold a 26-hour long moment of silence in Helsinki, Finland to honor people who have lost their homes due to a conflict.

On December 6th, Finland’s Independence Day, a 26-hour-long moment of silence will begin. Each second of the silence represents 1,100 people forced to flee their homes – the same number of seats as the Kallio Church where the event is held. The total number of seconds in 26 hours will symbolize the 103 million people, who have been displaced by war, violence, persecution, and human rights violations.

“During the 26-hour period of silence, we will turn our thoughts to those who have had to leave their homes,” explains Janne Taalas, CEO of CMI.

“At the same time, we want to make a concrete action to remind people of the art of listening, which is key to building peace. Finland’s Independence Day is a fitting time for this period of silence because eight decades ago hundreds of thousands of Finns were also displaced by war,” Taalas continues.

The moment of silence will begin on Tuesday, December 6th at 3:30pm (EET) and end on December 7th at 5:30 pm (EET). The public will be able to visit the church for the period of silence during the church’s regular opening hours. A group of volunteers will take part in the silence and be there also at night when the church is closed to the public. Everyone around the world can join the moment of silence from home via a Facebook live stream (link to live stream).

The moment of silence as part of an exhibition

At the church, during the moment of silence, the public can visit CMI’s exhibition called “Keys for Peace”. The exhibition presents keys and their owners from conflict areas around the world: Ukraine, Mali, Bosnia, Burundi, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya and ceded Karelia in Finland. One of the stories in the exhibition is that of a boy, Martti Ahtisaari, who would later become the President of Finland and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

*UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency 

For more about the Keys for Peace exhibition, see https://cmi.fi/keysforpeace/ 

CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation is a Finnish foundation and one of the world’s leading peace mediators, preventing and resolving conflicts through dialogue. CMI’s work is guided by the principle that all conflicts can be resolved because people have the capacity to seek peaceful change, even in the face of recurring violence.