Factbox: Nobel peace prize winner Martti Ahtisaari | world | Hindustan Times
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Factbox: Nobel peace prize winner Martti Ahtisaari

Martti Ahtisaari, the 71-year-old former Finnish president, won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his work in peace negotiating.

world Updated: Oct 10, 2008 15:29 IST

Martti Ahtisaari, the 71-year-old former Finnish president, won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his work in peace negotiating.

Here are some key facts on Ahtisaari:


The prize committee said that Ahtisaari won this year's prize for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades to resolve international conflicts. These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to "fraternity between nations" in Alfred Nobel's spirit.

In early October, Ahtisaari also received the UNESCO's Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize for his lifetime contribution to world peace.


Until March last year Ahtisaari mediated Serb-Albanian talks on Kosovo as the EU's envoy.

Acting as point man for the European Union, in 1999 Ahtisaari persuaded then Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to
accept NATO's terms for ending the Kosovo air campaign. The work earned him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

He had bowed out of national politics in 2000 to work with international organisations promoting peace and crisis resolution, accepting projects in Northern Ireland, Israel and the Horn of Africa.

Five years later, in 2005, he returned to the international spotlight when he organised talks between Indonesia's government and the Free Aceh Movement, who signed a peace deal in August to end a 30-year uprising.

Ahtisaari investigated security at the United Nations after the August 2003 car bombing in Iraq that devastated the UN's Baghdad headquarters. Since the report Secretary-General Kofi Annan has lobbied the General Assembly for nearly $100 million and 778 new posts for a directorate of security.


Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari was born on June 23, 1937, in the city of Viipuri. He graduated from the University of Oulu in 1959 and joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1965.

Ahtisaari held various posts in the Ministry's Bureau for Technical Co-operation from 1965 to 1972 and held the position of deputy director, Department for International Development Co-operation, the following year. He went on to serve as Finnish ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania and was also accredited to Zambia, Somalia, and Mozambique.

Ahtisaari also helped to supervise Namibia's move toward independence from South Africa in 1977-1981, playing a key role in ensuring a smooth transition through free and fair elections. In appreciation, the government of Namibia made him an honorary citizen. He also has served as an independent arms inspector in Northern Ireland's peace process.

During his 1994-2000 term as president of Finland, he led the country into the European Union and eurozone, becoming known as a no-nonsense statesman at ease with world affairs.