Martti Ahtisaari

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Martti Ahtisaari held the office of the President of the Republic of Finland from 1 March 1994 to 29 February 2000. Upon leaving office, Mr. Ahtisaari took on the Co-Chairmanship of the New York-based EastWest Institute and the Chairmanship of International Crisis Group (ICG).

He is a member of the joint advisors' group for the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations. 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 international board of the War-Torn Societies Project. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Other post-presidential activities included the inspection of IRA's arms' dumps with fellow inspector Cyril Ramaphosa, and drafting of a report on the political and human rights in Austria as a member of a group of "three wise men".

Mr. Ahtisaari joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1965, holding various posts in the Bureau for Technical cooperation at the Ministry from 1965 to 1972, and serving as the Assistant Director from 1971 to 1972. From 1972 to 1973, he served as the Deputy Director in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in the Department for International Development Co-operation. He was a member of the Government Advisory Committee on Trade and Industrialization Affairs of Developing Countries from 1971 to 1973.

In July 1978, Mr. Ahtisaari was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary General for Namibia. Prior to joining the United Nations (UN), Mr. Ahtisaari served as the 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. Mr. Ahtisaari also served as United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from 1977 to 1981.

Mr. Ahtisaari was the Under-Secretary of State in charge of International Development Co-operation in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland from 1984 to 1986. He was also the Governor for Finland in 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. Mr. Ahtisaari during that period chaired the Board of Directors for the Finnish Industrialization Fund for developing countries.

Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar appointed Mr. Ahtisaari as Under-Secretary General for Administration and Management, effective on the 1st January 1987. He served in this position till 30th June 1991. Mr. Ahtisaari retained his functions as Special Representative of the Secretary General for Namibia and led the UN operation (UNTAG) in Namibia (1989-1990).

As of July 1991, Mr. Ahtisaari served as Secretary of State in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in Helsinki. From the beginning of September 1992 to the 15th April 1993, Mr Ahtisaari was Chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Working Group of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia. Beginning from July 1993, for a period of four months, Mr. Ahtisaari served as Special Adviser to the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia and to the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for former Yugoslavia.

A citizen of Finland, Mr. Ahtisaari was born on 23rd June 1937. He is married and has a son.

"Former Finnish president (1994-2000) who in August 2005 successfully brokered a peace treaty between the government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement through his NGO the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).

"For his work in the UN, he is most notably remembered for stabilizing the situation in Namibia, and leading the country towards its first free elections in November 1989.

"In 2000 he oversaw the IRA weapons decommissioning in Northern Ireland. Later that year he was awarded the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding by the Fulbright Association in recognition of his work as peacemaker in some of the world’s most troubled areas.

"In November 2005 Ahtisaari was appointed as UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to lead the Vienna peace talks that will determine the final status of Kosovo. That he is considered to be pro-Albanian may count against him, but this seems to be based on several mis-understandings.

"The Crisis Manangement Initiative, which Ahtisaari founded in 2000, belongs to a family of centres that are lead by former leaders, such as the Carter Centre, the Kim Dae-Jung Peace Foundation, and the recently opened Oslo Centre run by former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik." [1]

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Related Sourcewatch


  1. Nobel Peace Prize 2006: Nominations & Speculations, International Peace Research Institute, accessed September 5, 2007.
  2. Governing Council, International Peacebuilding Alliance, accessed September 13, 2007.
  3. Council, European Council on Foreign Relations, accessed February 3, 2008.
  4. High Level Advisory Board, East West Institute, accessed February 26, 2008.
  5. Gregory Elich, "How the Nobel Peace Prize Was Won: For Services Rendered", Counterpunch, October 14, 2008.
  6. Prize Committee members, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, accessed January 8, 2011.
  7. About, The Elders, accessed February 10, 2011.