This joint report has been written in January 1996 by Juha and Marja Pentikäinen whose CVs are summarized below.

Juha Pentikäinen, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department of the Study of Religions, University of Helsinki, Finland, and the Institute of Social Science, University of Tromso, Norway. After having received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Turku in 1968 he was appointed to start the new discipline of the Study of Religions at the University of Helsinki in 1972. He has been a visiting professor of the Study of Religions, Cultural or Social Anthropology, Folkloristics and Scandinavian Studies in the Universities of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles), Texas (Austin), Minnesota (Minneapolis), Indiana (Bloomington) and Rome (Sapienza). He has been the Delegate of Finland in the United Nations and UNESCO and is the member and adviser of several work groups and committees nominated by the government and ministries of Finland. Juha Pentikäinen has done field work in all the continents except South America and given lectures in more than 60 countries. In 1994 he was invited to initiate a new discipline and Department of Religious Studies at the Institute of Social Science in the University of Tromso. His more than 20 books, 350 articles and 10 films have been awarded with several international prizes and degrees. In 1995 he was nominated to the membership of Academia Scientiarum Fennica.

Marja Pentikäinen, MSC, is Executive Chief of the Foreigners’ Office of the City of Tampere. After having received her degree in Social Policy she is now proceeding to her doctoral thesis in the University of Tampere. She has been a social worker and is today chairing the office which she initiated in 1989. She is the lecturer of the Universities of Tampere and Helsinki, a member of various expert groups and committees and an adviser of her government and parliament in issues concerning foreigners, immigrants, refugees, their social problems, values and religions. Her publications include the thesis “Culture is a Key” (1994), “Finnish Emigration and Immigration” (1995), and a report written for UNESCO about foreigners and refugees in Finland. In 1995 she chaired a panel on “The Future of Family” at the Professors’ International Conference in Seoul, Korea.

I. Introduction