57 Facts About Martti Ahtisaari


Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari is a Finnish politician, the tenth president of Finland, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and a United Nations diplomat and mediator noted for his international peace work.


The Nobel statement said that Martti Ahtisaari had played a prominent role in resolving serious and long-lasting conflicts, including ones in Namibia, Aceh, Kosovo and Serbia, and Iraq.


Since the death of Mauno Koivisto in May 2017, Martti Ahtisaari is currently the oldest living President of Finland.


Kuopio was where Martti Ahtisaari spent most of his childhood, eventually attending Kuopion Lyseo high school.


In 1952, Martti Ahtisaari moved to Oulu with his family to seek employment.


Martti Ahtisaari was able to live at home while attending the two-year course which enabled him to qualify as a primary-school teacher in 1959.


Besides his native language, Finnish, Martti Ahtisaari speaks Swedish, French, English, and German.

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Martti Ahtisaari returned to Finland in 1963, and became active in non-governmental organizations responsible for aid to developing countries.


Martti Ahtisaari joined the international students' organisation AIESEC, where he discovered new passions about diversity and diplomacy.


Martti Ahtisaari spent several years as a diplomatic representative from Finland.


Martti Ahtisaari served as Finland's Ambassador to Tanzania from 1973 to 1977.


Between 1987 and 1991 Martti Ahtisaari was the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for administration and management.


Martti Ahtisaari took advice from British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who was visiting the region at the time, and approved the SADF deployment.


Martti Ahtisaari served as UN undersecretary general for administration and management from 1987 to 1991 causing mixed feelings inside the organisation during an internal investigation of massive fraud.


When Martti Ahtisaari revealed in 1990 that he had secretly lengthened the grace period allowing UN officials to return misappropriated taxpayer money from the original three months to three years, the investigators were furious.


In 1993, Martti Ahtisaari accepted the candidacy of the Social Democratic Party.


Martti Ahtisaari's politically untarnished image was a major factor in the election, as was his vision of Finland as an active participant in international affairs.


Martti Ahtisaari narrowly won over his second round opponent, Elisabeth Rehn of the Swedish People's Party.


Martti Ahtisaari denied both allegations and no firm proof of them has emerged.


Martti Ahtisaari ducked a precise answer by stating that he trusted the Lutheran confession even on this issue.


Martti Ahtisaari travelled extensively in Finland and abroad, and was nicknamed "Matka-Mara".


Martti Ahtisaari kept his campaign promise to visit one Finnish historical province every month during his presidency.


Martti Ahtisaari donated some thousands of Finnish marks per month to the unemployed people's organisations, and a few thousand Finnish marks to the Christian social organisation of the late lay preacher and social worker Veikko Hursti.


Contrary to some of his predecessors and his successor as the Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari ended all of his New Year's speeches by wishing the Finnish people God's blessing.


In January 1998 Martti Ahtisaari was criticized by some NGOs, politicians and notable cultural figures because he awarded Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland to the Forest Minister of Indonesia and to the main owner of the Indonesian RGM Company, a parent company of the April Company.

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President Martti Ahtisaari supported Finland's entry into the European Union, and in a 1994 referendum, 57 percent of Finnish voters were in favour of EU membership.


Martti Ahtisaari later stated that if Finland had not voted to join the EU he would have resigned.


Martti Ahtisaari negotiated alongside Viktor Chernomyrdin with Slobodan Milosevic to end the fighting in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo in 1999.


Martti Ahtisaari wanted the Social Democrats to re-nominate him for the presidency without opposition, but two opponents signed up for the party's presidential primary.


Martti Ahtisaari was the last "strong president", before the 2000 constitution reduced the president's powers.


Martti Ahtisaari was succeeded by the foreign minister Tarja Halonen.


In Finnish politics, Martti Ahtisaari long stressed how important it is for Finland to join NATO.


Martti Ahtisaari argued that Finland should be a full member of NATO and the EU in order "to shrug off once and for all the burden of Finlandization".


Martti Ahtisaari believed politicians should file application and make Finland a member.


Martti Ahtisaari said that the way Finnish politicians avoided expressing their opinion was disturbing.


Martti Ahtisaari noted that the so-called "NATO option" was an illusion, making an analogy to trying to obtain fire insurance when the fire has already started.


Since leaving office, Martti Ahtisaari has held positions in various international organisations.


Martti Ahtisaari founded the independent Crisis Management Initiative with the goal of developing and sustaining peace in troubled areas.


On 1 December 2000, Ahtisaari 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 2005, Martti Ahtisaari successfully led peace negotiations between the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian government through his non-governmental organization CMI.


In early 2006, Martti Ahtisaari opened the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Kosovo in Vienna, Austria, from where he conducted the Kosovo status negotiations.


In July 2007 when the EU, Russia and the United States agreed to find a new format for the talks, Martti Ahtisaari announced that he regarded his mission as over.


Martti Ahtisaari was chairman of the Interpeace Governing Council from 2000 to 2009.


Since 2009, Martti Ahtisaari has been Chairman Emeritus and a Special Advisor.


In 2008 Martti Ahtisaari was awarded an honorary degree by University College, London.

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In September 2009 Martti Ahtisaari joined The Elders, a group of independent global leaders who work together on peace and human rights issues.


Martti Ahtisaari travelled to the Korean Peninsula with fellow Elders Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson in April 2011, and to South Sudan with Robinson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in July 2012.


Martti Ahtisaari is a member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation's Ibrahim Prize Committee.


Martti Ahtisaari is a member of the board of the European Council on Foreign Relations.


In late 2015, Martti Ahtisaari reiterated charges he already had made in an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in early 2013 against members of the UN security council on the obstruction of a political solution to the escalating conflict in Syria.


Martti Ahtisaari said in an interview in September 2015 that he held talks about Syria with envoys from the five permanent members of the UN security council in February 2012.


On 24 March 2020, amid the large-scale outbreak of COVID-19, it was announced that Martti Ahtisaari had tested positive for the disease.


On 2 September 2021 it was announced that Martti Ahtisaari is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and has retired from public life.


On 10 October 2008 Martti Ahtisaari was announced as that year's recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.


Martti Ahtisaari received the prize on 10 December 2008 at Oslo City Hall in Norway.


Martti Ahtisaari worked with others this year to find a peaceful solution to the problems in Iraq, the committee said.


Martti Ahtisaari invited Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Stubb and others to his Nobel event, but not President Halonen.