What would a forgiveness emoji look like?

A new campaign out of Finland aims to get people thinking about forgiveness by introducing a new emoji, and are crowdsourcing its design.

TheForgivemoji campaign is to get a “forgivemoji” added to the list of emojis that appear on mobile phones. In November, 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. In 2019, Unicode announced they added 59 new emojis to the selection. 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, 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.

Tuomo Pesonen is Communications Director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, one of the founding organisations of the #forgivemoji campaign.

”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,” Mr Pesonen said.

The campaign has seen the ELCF partner with 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 Martti Ahtisaari.

Sara Linnoinen from Finn Churd Aid’s peace network, one of the partner organisations, said that forgiveness plays an important role 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,” Ms Linnoinen said.

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor




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