Martti Ahtisaari. LEHTIKUVA

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Martti Ahtisaari, the 10th President of Finland and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, has died at the age of 86 in Helsinki.

Serving as the Finnish head of state from 1994 to 2000, Ahtisaari was renowned not only for his domestic leadership but also for his tireless commitment to global peace and diplomacy. His illustrious career in the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the United Nations laid the foundation for his impactful post-presidential endeavors.

Born on 23 June 1937 in Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia), Ahtisaari's early life was shaped by the turbulence of World War II. His career in diplomacy spanned continents, making notable impacts in areas such as Namibia, Aceh in Indonesia, Kosovo, Serbia, and Iraq. As a UN special envoy for Kosovo, he played a pivotal role in the Kosovo status process negotiations, contributing to the region's declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008.

For his decades-long dedication to resolving international conflicts, Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee commended his role in mediating serious, enduring conflicts across continents.

Following his presidency, Ahtisaari founded the CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, a highly respected peace brokerage organization. His post-presidential endeavors also saw him advocating for Finland's membership in NATO, a goal realized in 2023.

Current Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, expressing his sorrow at the news, remarked, “Martti Ahtisaari believed in humankind, civilization, and goodness. He was a President during times of change, leading Finland into a new global EU era.” Niinistö will honor Ahtisaari with a memorial speech on Yle TV1 at 11:00.

Ahtisaari’s unique blend of leadership, both domestically and internationally, and his enduring commitment to peace will ensure his legacy continues to inspire generations in Finland and beyond.

HT

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