President of Finland (1994-2000)
Nobel Peace Laureate 2008
Date and place of Birth:
June 23 1937, Vyborg (Carelia, Finland).
Martti Ahtisaari holds a degree from the University of Oulu, Finland (1959).
Profesional Experience and Political Career:
President Ahtisaari joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1965. After holding many important positions in the ministry, he served as Ambassador of Finland to the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Somalia and Mozambique from 1973 to 1976. He served as a member of the Senate of the United Nations Institute for Namibia from 1975 to 1976, and as UN Commissioner for Namibia from 1977 to 1981. He was appointed Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Namibia in 1978, a position he held until the early 1990s.
From 1984 to 1986 he served as Under-Secretary of State in charge of International Development Cooperation. He was Governor for Finland in the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Additionally, he was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Finnish Industrialization Fund for developing countries.
Mr. Ahtisaari served as Under-Secretary General for Administration and Management from 1987 to 1991 and in addition led operation UNTAG in Namibia (1989-1990). In 1991, he became Secretary of State for Finland. From 1992 to 1993, he served as Chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Working Group of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia, and for four months in 1993 as Special Adviser to the Conference and as UN Secretary General's Special Representative for former Yugoslavia
Mr. Ahtisaari was elected President of the Republic of Finland in 1994 and held office until 2000. Upon leaving office, Mr. Ahtisaari took on the Co-Chairmanship of the East-West Institute and the Chairmanship of the International Crisis Group. He is a member of the joint advisors' group for the Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundation. He also serves as Chairman of the Balkan Children and Youth Foundation and Global Action Council of the International Youth Foundation, as well as on the board of the WSP International. Until 2003 he was also a member of the Board of Directors of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). He is the founder and President of the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).
Additionally, he chaired an independent panel on the security and safety of UN personnel in Iraq, was appointed UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, served as Personal Envoy of the OSCE CiO for Central Asia, and participated in an inspection of the IRA's arms' dumps. Mr. Ahtisaari helped draft a report on the human rights and political situation in Austria as a member of the "three wise men" group. Mr Ahtisaari has been nominated special UN envoy for Kosovo future status talks in November 2005.
President Ahtisaari is currently on the corporate governing boards of Elcoteq Network and UPM-Kymmene, Finland.
Mr. Ahtisaari was awared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.
He has recieved numerous Doctorates Honoris Causa. He has been awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award (2000), the Hessen Peace Prize (2000), the J. William Fulbright Award for International Understanding (2000), the Highest Acknowledgement of the Together for Peace Foundation (2000), the European Peacebuilder Award (2003) and the Euro-Atlantic Bridge Prize from the European Foundation for Culture (2003). In 2002 President Ahtisaari was appointed 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. Ahtisaari is a member of various Finnish cultural organizations.