His Excellency Martti Ahtisaari, Honorary Chair

Chairman of the Board, Crisis Management Initiative

His Excellency Martti Ahtisaari, Honorary Chair

Chairman of the Board, Crisis Management Initiative

Martti Ahtisaari served as president of the Republic of Finland from 1994-2000. Since leaving office, Mr. Ahtisaari has accepted positions in various international organizations. In 2000, the British government appointed him to the team overseeing the inspections of IRA weapons decommissioning in Northern Ireland. Mr. Ahtisaari also founded Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), an independent NGO with the goal of developing and sustaining peace in troubled areas. On December 1, 2000, Mr. 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, Mr. Ahtisaari, through CMI, successfully led peace negotiations between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government. The negotiations ended on August 15, 2005 with a treaty on withdrawal of the armed Indonesian forces and dropped GAM demands for an independent Aceh. In November 2005, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Mr. Ahtisaari as special envoy for the Kosovo Future Status Process. In this capacity, Mr. Ahtisaari was charged with leading a political process to determine Kosovo's political status. In early 2006, Mr. Ahtisaari opened the United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Kosovo in Vienna, Austria from where he conducted the Kosovo status negotiations.

Upon leaving office, Mr. Ahtisaari also took on the co-chairmanship of the New York-based EastWest Institute and the chairmanship of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. He is a member of the joint advisors' group for the Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundation. He also serves as chairman of the Balkan Children and Youth Foundation and Global Action Council of the International Youth Foundation, as well as of the international board of WSP International. He is also a member of the board of directors of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

Mr. Ahtisaari joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1965, holding various posts in the Ministry's Bureau for Technical Cooperation from 1965 to 1972 and serving as assistant director from 1971 to 1972. He served as deputy director of the Ministry’s Department for International Development Cooperation between 1972 and 1973. He was a member of the Government Advisory Committee on Trade and Industrialization Affairs of Developing Countries from 1971 to 1973. Mr. Ahtisaari served as 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 United Nations Institute for Namibia between 1975 and 1976. Mr. Ahtisaari served as United Nations commissioner for Namibia from 1977 to 1981. He was appointed special representative of the secretary general for Namibia in July 1978.

Mr. Ahtisaari served from 1984 to 1986 as undersecretary of state in charge of international development cooperation in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. He was 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 was during that period chairman of the board of directors for the Finnish Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries. Mr. Ahtisaari is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees from universities located throughout the world. A citizen of Finland, Mr. Ahtisaari was born on June 23, 1937. He is married and has a son.

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