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  • An emoji for forgiving? Campaign launched in Finland is crowdsourcing ideas

An emoji for forgiving? Campaign launched in Finland is crowdsourcing ideas

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Forgiving increases peace, and there’s no better time to focus on the theme than on the International Day of Peace. None of the current emojis says ”I forgive you”. Forgivemoji campaign, launched in Finland this Autumn, is crowdsourcing ideas for an emoji to be used for forgiving. The winning emoji will be introduced to the official Unicode collection at the end of this year.

You can still join the campaign:  #forgivemoji www.forgivemoji.com

The ultimate goal of the Forgivemoji campaign is to get forgivemoji added to the list of emojis. In November this year, the campaign team will decide on the best idea and send it to the Unicode Consortium. Unicode manages the emoji list and provides framework for services and device manufacturers to use them.

Unicode updates its emoji list once a year. For example, in 2019, Unicode announced they would be adding 59 new emojis to the selection, with variations totaling at 230. The process of introducing a new emoji can take two years, and the application must include explanation for the use and frequency of the emoji.

On the campaign’s website www.forgivemoji.com, visitors can vote from a selection of emoji designs or submit their own artwork and sketches. The original idea for the forgivemoji campaign came from a surprising source – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Currently, the ELFC is celebrating their #rauha theme year, which highlights peace as a national focus in Finland.  

”In our modern digital communication culture, emojis are an essential way of expressing human feelings beyond words. We were surprised to realise that the official emoji selection has dozens of different cats and even two designs of zombies, but there isn’t an emoji for forgiveness. Through crowdsourcing ideas for the design of an emoji for forgiveness, this campaign also strives to promote a message of peace and mutual understanding the world over,” says Mr Tuomo Pesonen, Communications Director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, one of the founding organisations of the #forgivemoji campaign.

Partnering with a Nobel peace laureate

To kickstart the campaign, the ELCF partnered with various charitable and peace-building organisations, including Felm, Finn Church Aid, Helsinki Deaconess Foundation, and the National Movement for Reconciliation. Another important partner is Crisis Management Initiative CMI, the conflict-resolving organisation founded by former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mr Martti Ahtisaari.

”Our vision comes from President Ahtisaari – all conflicts can be solved. What people have started, people can end. Emojis are a modern way to use dialogue and forgiveness is an integral part of that dialogue,” says Elina Lehtinen, Director of Communications & Fundraising at CMI.

Emojis are most used by the younger population and they’re also an integral part of the campaign’s core audience. One of the partners involved in the campaign is Felm, an agency of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland for its international work.

”Our work focuses on educating the younger generations on the themes of peace and cooperation. We believe that by raising our children to love their neighbor and accept differences will support peaceful cooperation between different groups of people. We’re present in many countries where war and religious conflicts are part of everyday life,” says Felm’s Executive Director Rolf Steffansson.

Deaconess Foundation and This is Church in Helsinki - Helsinki Parishes are working on reconciliation becoming a mainstream topic in Finland.

”Reconciliation is the key in sustaining peace. Without it, conflicts continue in cycles and get worse. We urgently need to learn better how to reconcile. These skills are needed everywhere. Different ways to encourage apologizing and forgiveness are an essential part of it, and this includes the social media environment”, says Special Assistant Antti Pentikäinen from Deaconess Foundation. Pentikäinen is shaping the Mary Hoch Center as its founding executive director and serves as the reconciliation and research professor at George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR).

Sara Linnoinen from Finn Churd Aid’s peace network, one of the partner organizations, highlights the role forgiveness plays in creating peace.

”Peace is vital for people to be able to lead safe lives in their home countries. Forgiveness is a very important part of peace-creation,” Linnoinen says.

Additional information



Pictures: https://kaikuhelsinki.kuvat.fi/kuvat/forgivemoji/

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

Tuomo Pesonen

Communications Director


+358 50 378 0041


Elina Lehtinen

Director of Communications & Fundraising


+358 40 834 0465

Finn Church Aid

Sara Linnoinen

Acting Head of Secretariat, Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers


+358 406 216 085


Hanna Hokka

Manager of Marketing and Fundraising


+358 20 712 7096