Martti Ahtisaari Biography

(Former President of Finland)

Birthday: June 23, 1937 (Cancer)

Born In: Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia)

Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari is a Finnish politician and former President of Finland. He also worked as a U.N. diplomat and mediator and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 for bringing peace to many parts of this world through negotiations and dialogue. He was born in Finland, displaced from his birthplace during childhood by Russians soldiers, moved from one place to another and finally settled in Oulu with his mother. After graduation he joined the Government of Finland and was involved in bringing conflicting nations to the negotiating table in a several countries as a representative of Finland and the United Nations. Ultimately he became the President of Finland and brought back Finland from sheer economic destruction by joining the European Union. His childhood experiences taught him that mankind can live only when peace prevails everywhere and this is what he set out to do with quite a great degree of success. Along with his native tongue Finnish, he speaks English, German, French and Swedish. He contributed to the achievement of independence for Namibia and Kosovo, worked for the United Nations in many positions and held very important positions in many international organizations.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari

Age: 87 Years, 87 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Eeva Ahtisaari

father: Oiva Ahtisaari

mother: Tyyne Ahtisaari

children: Marko Ahtisaari

Nobel Peace Prize Presidents

Founder/Co-Founder: Crisis Management Initiative

More Facts

education: University of Oulu

awards: Nobel Peace Prize (2008)

Childhood & Early Life
Martti Ahtisaari was born on June 23, 1937 in Viipuri, Finland, which is presently in Russia and known as Vyborg.
His father, Oiva Ahtisaari (his grandfather Julius Marenius Adolfsen immigrated to Finland with his family from Tistedalen, Norway in 1872), became a Finnish Citizen in 1929 and changed his surname from Adolfsen to Ahtisaari.
His mother was Tyyne Ahtisaari who moved to Kuopio from Viipuri with her son to escape from the Second World War when his father was called to the front.
He spent a big part of his childhood in Kuopio and attended the Kuopion Lyseo high school.
He moved with his family to Oulu in 1952, continued his high school education and graduated the same year.
He joined the YMCA in Oulu and the military service as a reserve and rose to the rank of Captain in the Finnish Army.
After the completion of his training in the military, Martti Ahtisaari joined a distance learning course at the teacher’s college in Oulu.
He studied for two years from home and qualified as a primary school teacher in 1959.
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Martti Ahtisaari moved to Karachi, Pakistan, as the head of physical education training program conducted by YMCA where his job was managing the student’s home and training the teachers.
In 1963 he returned to Finland and got involved with non-governmental organizations which provided aid to developing countries.
He joined the ‘Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland’ in 1965 as a member of the ‘Bureau for International Development Aid’ and became its assistant head later.
He represented Finland in Namibia from 1977 to 1981 as the ‘United Nations Commissioner for Namibia’. He helped Namibia to get its independence from South Africa.
Ahtisaari was sent to Namibia in April 1989 as the head of UNTAG or ‘United Nations Transition Assistance Group.
He agreed with the South African Administrator General Louis Pienaar and the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to allow the SADF forces to throw out the SWAPO insurgents resulting in the death of about 375 SWAPO soldiers.
After elections were held in free Namibia in 1989, he was made an honorary citizen of the country.
He served as the UN Undersecretary of Administration from1987 to 1991.
He was sent to Kosovo as a Special UN Envoy to negotiate the independence of Kosovo from Serbia which took place in 2008.
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In 1993 he was chosen as a presidential candidate by the Social Democratic Party and won the election by a narrow margin over the Swedish People’s Party’s candidate Elisabeth Renn.
In 1994 he led Finland to join the European Union.
In 1999 he negotiated with Slobodan Milosevic and Viktor Chernomyrdin for peace in Kosovo.
He refused to contest for the position of president again 2000. After withdrawing from the presidential elections he founded the ‘Crisis Management Initiative’ for negotiating peace in all the troubled areas of the world.
During the ‘Northern Ireland peace process’ from 2000 to 2001 he accompanied Cyril Ramaphosa during the inspection of weapons of the IRA on behalf of the ‘Independent International Commission.’
He successfully negotiated peace between the ‘Free Aceh Movement’ and the Indonesian government in 2005.
He was appointed by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to administer Kosovo in November 2005.
From his office in Vienna he conducted negotiations for Kosovo’s independence from Serbia from early 2006.
When the EU, the United States and Russia took over the negotiations for Kosovo, Ahtisaari gladly relinquished his responsibility to them. Kosovo finally became independent in February 2008.
He was chairman of the ‘Interpeace Governing Council’ from 2000 to 2009 and has been a Special Advisor and Chairman Emeritus of the council since 2009.
In 2009 he joined Jimmy Carter, Gro Harlem Brudtland and Mary Robinson of ‘The Elders’ group. He travelled to Korea with them in April 2011 to bring peace there.
He travelled with Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson to South Sudan in July 2012 for peace process.
Awards & Achievements
Martti Ahtisaari received the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2008 for his efforts in resolving conflicts in Namibia, Indonesia, Aceh, Iraq, Kosovo and many other countries.
He has received several awards from various countries and organizations for his efforts and contribution to freedom and peace.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1968 Martti Ahtisaari married Eeva Irmeli Hyvarinen and had a son Marko Ahtisaari who became a famous producer and musician later.
Humanitarian Work
He has worked tirelessly in his mission for peace and disarmament in many parts of the world.

See the events in life of Martti Ahtisaari in Chronological Order

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