About Us

The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers builds bridges between grassroots peacemakers and global players in order to strengthen the work done for sustainable peace. The Network strengthens peacemaking through collaboratively supporting the positive role of religious and traditional actors in peace and peacebuilding processes.

NetWork Vision

A world where religious and traditional actors play a positive role in preventing violence and contributing to sustainable peace.

Mission Statement

To enhance the effectiveness of efforts towards peaceful and inclusive societies by increasing the active collaboration between religious and traditional actors and other key stakeholders in conflict transformation.

Objectives

The mission of the Network encompasses the following strategic objectives, which are also geared to contribute to UN efforts towards sustaining peace and the SDGs, particularly the SDG 5, 16 and 17, and UNSCR 1325 (women, peace and security), and UNSCR 2250 (youth, peace and security).

What We Do

Within a vision of a world where conflicts are managed without violence, the Network aims to improve the effectiveness of peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts by collaboratively supporting and strengthening the positive role of religious and traditional actors by increasing inclusivity of such peace processes. The long-term impact envisaged as part of the Theory of Change is therefore more resilient and inclusive peace processes that lead to move sustainable peace.

Sustaining Peace

Since becoming operational in 2014, the Network has supported individual traditional and faith oriented insider mediators, intra- and inter-faith dialogues and advancement of reconciliation efforts. Network activities are conducted as a collaborative effort between Network Members, Supporters and the Secretariat, and is based on requests from local or international peacemakers or partners. These collaborative actions and processes enhance the ownership of actors involved, measurably reduce the duplication of efforts and evolved strategic collaborative actions that are sustainable in the long run.

The Network efforts support religious and traditional actors – including women and youth – who are often the most familiar with the effects of violent conflicts on the population at large. They also have close ties to the community level and have vital knowledge about the local context and history as well as the needs on the ground. By engaging religious and traditional actors in mediation, dialogue and peacebuilding process, the Network supports their crucial role in ensuring that peace efforts reach the wider population and are rooted in local ownership.

History and Justification

The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers was initiated in 2013 as a response to the growing awareness among peace mediation organization and the United Nations, that religious and traditional authorities are vital, but underutilized, actors in peacemaking processes.

Network Structure

The Network was incepted in 2013 as a direct response to UN Secretary General Bon Ki-moon’s call to increase the role of religious leaders and faith-based institutions in conflict mediation.  The Network was launched in a stewardship of a Core Group comprised of non-governmental and multilateral institutions, including the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

That panel was replaced in 2020 with a new Steering Group (SG) that includes Core Group members who wish to continue their service as well as other members elected on a rotating basis by the Members Assembly. The responsibilities of the Steering Group include: (1) providing strategic guidance and overseeing the Secretariat’s work; (2) contributing to high-level advocacy on behalf of the Network’s mission; (3) reviewing and approving or disapproving applications for Network membership; (4) choosing the list of participants in the AGM; and (5) selecting a host organisation for the Secretariat. 

Members of the Network have experience engaging with tradition- or faith-based peace and development activities and have the ability to assist the Network through their own expertise and contacts. Members also endorse the Network’s mission and vision, actively commit to the values of inclusivity, respect for diversity, human rights and human dignity. Members have voting rights and meet once a year at the Members Assembly.

Supporters of the Network are comprised of organizations and individuals that have the capacity and the desire to advance the Network’s mission but that are unable to commit to membership can still be Network supporters. While supporters do not have the right to vote, they are encouraged to contribute, based on their interests and capabilities, to specific activities and working groups.

The Secretariat prepares meetings, ensures communication, coordinates joint activities and facilitates the development of the support structures providing assistance to religious and traditional peacemakers. A majority of the work conducted by Secretariat is done upon request and in close collaboration with partners.

Our Staff

Mohamed Elsanousi

Mohamed Elsanousi

Executive Director

Washington D.C.
Matthias Wevelsiep

Matthias Wevelsiep

Senior Operations and Program Manager

Helsinki

Sara Linnoinen

Sara Linnoinen

Program Manager, Horn of Africa & East Africa

Helsinki
Edla Puoskari

Edla Puoskari

Program Manager, Asia

Manila
Milla Perukangas

Milla Perukangas

Senior Specialist on Peace & Security /PVE & Program Manager, Europe/MENA

Helsinki
Dr. Marko Juntunen

Dr. Marko Juntunen

Senior Researcher & Reach Out 3 Program Coordinator

Helsinki
PAULA TARVAINEN

PAULA TARVAINEN

Senior Advisor - Right to Peace

Helsinki

Jessica Roland

Jessica Roland

Senior Specialist on Inclusive Peace

New York

Habiba Ali

Habiba Ali

Project Coordinator, Reach Out /PVE Finland

Helsinki

Simon Woell

Simon Woell

Project Officer, AHA! Awareness with Human Action

Bangkok

Philip Gassert

Philip Gassert

Project Manager, SEA-AIR

Bangkok
Jaakko Virkkunen

Jaakko Virkkunen

Project Coordinator, ALLY

Bangkok
Hassan Mutubwa

Hassan Mutubwa

Project Officer, Religious Minorities Project

Nairobi
Gina Dias

Gina Dias

Partnership and Resource Development Manager

Nairobi 

Siam Tooran

Siam Tooran

UN Coordinator

New York City
Sarah Tyler

Sarah Tyler

Communications Coordinator

Washington, D.C.
Rachel Palermo

Rachel Palermo

Membership and Operations Coordinator

Washington, D.C.

Bishal Adhikari

Bishal Adhikari

Finance and Administrative Officer

Bangkok
Julia Ramirez

Julia Ramirez

Finance & Administration Officer

Helsinki

Varisa Sinthusake

Varisa Sinthusake

AHA! Project Finance Officer

Bangkok

Kopila Thapa

Kopila Thapa

Finance and Events Officer

Bangkok

Staff on Leave

Mahdi Abdile

Mahdi Abdile

Former Head of the Secretariat

on Sabbatical

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