Martti Ahtisaari is the former President of Finland, an internationally recognized mediator and peacebuilder, and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.
Martti Ahtisaari is the former President of Finland, an internationally recognized mediator and peacebuilder, and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. He joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1965, holding various posts in the Ministry's Bureau for Technical Cooperation from 1965 to 1972, and serving as Assistant Director from 1971 to 1972. He was Deputy Director in the Department for International Development Cooperation between 1972 and 1973, and a member of the Government Advisory Committee on Trade and Industrialization Affairs of Developing Countries from 1971 to 1973.
Prior to joining the United Nations, Ahtisaari served as Ambassador of Finland to the United Republic of Tanzania (1973-1976) and was also accredited to Zambia, Somalia and Mozambique (1975-1976). He served as a Member of the Senate of the UN Institute for Namibia between 1975 and 1976. Ahtisaari served as United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from 1977 to 1981. He was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary General for Namibia in July 1978.
Martti Ahtisaari served from 1984 to 1986 as Under-Secretary of State in charge of International Development Co-operation in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, as well as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Namibia. He was Governor of the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and in the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as in the International Fund for Agricultural Development for Finland. During that period Ahtisaari was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Finnish Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries.
In January 1987 Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar appointed Ahtisaari as Under-Secretary General for Administration and Management. Ahtisaari retained his functions as Special Representative of the Secretary General for Namibia and led the UN operation (UNTAG) in Namibia (1989-1990). Ahtisaari’s position as Under-Secretary General ended in June 1991.
In 1991, Ahtisaari served as Secretary of State in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in Helsinki. From September 1992 to April 1993, Ahtisaari served as Chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Working Group of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia (fYR Macedonia). On July 1993, Ahtisaari served for a period of four months as Special Adviser to the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia (fYR Macedonia) and to the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for former Yugoslavia (fYR Macedonia). From March 1994 to February 2000, Ahtisaari was President of Finland. Upon leaving office, Mr. Ahtisaari founded the Crisis Management Iniatiative, where he is now the Chairman of the Board.
After his term as President Ahtisaari was Chairman of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group from 2000 to 2005. He is a Member of the Joint Advisors’ Group for the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations Network. Ahtisaari is also Chairman of the Balkan Children and Youth Foundation and the Global Action Council of the International Youth Foundation, as well as of the International Board of the War-Torn Societies Project. Until 2003 he was also a Member of the Board of Directors of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Ahtisaari has been appointed the Personal Envoy of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE for Central Asia and UN Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa. Ahlisaari other post-presidential activities have included inspection of the IRA's arms’ dumps with fellow inspector Cyril Ramaphosa, and the drafting of a report on the human rights and political situation in Austria as a member of a group of "three wise men".
In addition, former President Ahtisaari is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Finnish National Opera, Member of the Board of Trustees of Averett University, an Honorary Chairman of the Pro Baltica Forum, Honorary Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Eurasia Foundation, an Honorary Chairman of the International Committee of Vyborg Library, a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Inter Press Service International Association, a Member of the Board of Naantali Music Festival, an Honorary Trustee of the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and a Member of the Steering Committee of the Northern Research Forum. He is also a Patron of the Koeppler Appeal and Member of the Board of EUSTORY. Ahtisaari has received numerous decorations. In 2002 he was appointed as an Honorary Officer in the Order of Australia. In 2004 he was awarded with the Order of the Companions of Oliver Tambo (Supreme Companion) by South Africa.
Former President Ahtisaari graduated from the University of Oulu, Finland in 1959 and received an Honorary Doctorate in 1989. He holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts; of Political Science from Kasetsart University, Bangkok; of Social Sciences from University of Turku; of Economics and Business Administration (Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration); of the University of Palermo (Argentina); of Philosophy from the University of Helsinki; of the University of Moscow (MGIMO); of Pedagogy from Kyiv; of Technology from University of Technology, Espoo; of the University of Namibia; of Laws from Columbia University of New York; of Social Sciences from University of Jyv?skyl?; and from the Averett College in 2001. In 2005 Ahtisaari received an Honorary Degree Doctor of Humane Letters from the American University in Bulgaria and in 2006 he received the Honorary Degree Doctor of Political Sciences from the University of Helsinki.
Martti Ahtisaari was born on 23 June 1937 in Finland. He is married to Leva Ahtisaari and has one son.