Objectives and principles of National Dialogues

The purpose of the National Dialogues is to build a common understanding of different societal phenomena, challenges and opportunities through the participants’ experiences.

Dialogues are held on topics on which more in-depth understanding is needed in Finland and which concern a large number of citizens at the national level. The topic of the dialogue and its handling must not exclude any particular group of people. In addition, a broader understanding of the subject must also benefit the public administration. In this way, dialogues can also be used to influence the development of society.

The theme selection process is described in more detail here.

Immediate objectives of National Dialogues

  • Provide all people living in Finland and Finns living abroad with opportunities to gather together and discuss important issues in a constructive and open manner.
  • Through the participants’ experiences, build an understanding that benefits the public administration and other actors as well as an up-to-date situational picture of various social phenomena, challenges and opportunities.

Wider impacts to be pursued to strengthen democracy

  • To increase mutual trust between citizens, trust between public administration and citizens, and trust between different actors in society.
  • Empower citizens by offering them low-threshold opportunities to participate in social debate and also involving those groups whose voice is not normally heard.
  • To develop the ability of different actors in society to handle matters through dialogue.

Cross-cutting principles of National Dialogues

  • Openness and transparency. Anyone can join in on a low-threshold basis, and the basic principles of participation are clear and the same for everyone. No single party dictates the agenda of the dialogues.
  • Trust and equality. The activities are based on mutual trust and equal cooperation, starting from the work of the operative core group and the trust of dialogue organisers in the coordinating parties, always reaching out to the trust of an individual dialogue participant.
  • Joint ownership. Openness and trust enable the decentralisation of the ownership of National Dialogues to all parties involved in the activities.