Finland: New emoji for forgiveness presented

An emoji for forgiveness, selected from the proposals submitted in a campaign by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Photo: ELCF
An emoji for forgiveness, selected from the proposals submitted in a campaign by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Photo: ELCF

Former president Halonen selects emoji from hundreds of submissions

(LWI) - Two hands showing the "thumbs up" gesture in front of a heart – this is the winner of the emoji campaign launched by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) and its partners last year. The winning emoji was chosen by former Finnish president, Tarja Halonen from hundreds of suggestions, that were submitted online. The campaign attracted worldwide media attention.

The emoji selected highlights the positive emotional side and the peace-building effect of forgiveness. According to Halonen, the current climate of discussion and debates can often be very polarizing. She would like to see more empathy, moderation, and willingness to admit one's mistakes in digital discussions and sees the value of a forgiveness emoji for that purpose.

There are more than 3,000 official emoji - small pictograms representing emotions in the digital world - but none that can be used to express forgiveness. In 2019 the ELCF and partners launched a campaign to find such an emoji.

Building bridges between people

Tuomo Pesonen, ELCF communications director, said that Halonen was asked to choose the favorite among the proposals because she has been committed to building bridges between people during her presidency from 2000 to 2012 and beyond.

The next step in the process will be to submit the emoji to the Unicode consortium which will take an official decision on the proposal. Criteria such as necessity, expected frequency of use and clarity will inform the decision on whether the new emoji will be included in the catalogue. The catalogue is updated once a year and the church hopes that the emoji will be available for use in 2021.