In Memoriam: Martti Ahtisaari, 1937-2023
In Memoriam: Martti Ahtisaari, 1937-2023
Martti Ahtisaari with former Crisis Group President Gareth Evans. ICG
Media Release 1 minutes

In Memoriam: Martti Ahtisaari, 1937-2023

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Martti Ahtisaari at age 86. A former president of Finland, Mr Ahtisaari served as Chairman of the International Crisis Group from 2000 to 2004 and remained associated with Crisis Group as Chairman Emeritus. He leaves a legacy of dedication to promoting peace and resolving conflicts around the world.

Mr Ahtisaari's unwavering commitment to diplomacy and conflict resolution brought hope and reconciliation to many nations. From his role as a UN mediator in Namibia and Kosovo to his efforts to end the civil war in Indonesia's Aceh province, and later his founding of the Crisis Management Initiative, he worked tirelessly to find solutions and bring stability to areas torn apart by strife.

In recognition of his work as a mediator in various conflicts, Mr Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008. His ability to bring together opposing sides and find common ground earned him the nickname “the peacemaker”. His diplomacy was often described as calm and patient.

Martti Ahtisaari was a master of negotiation, skilfully blending his irresistible charm with a no-nonsense, direct approach”, said Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s President & CEO. “He believed that dialogue and understanding were the keys to resolving even the most entrenched conflicts”.

His passing leaves a void, but his life-long service to the causes of peace and conflict resolution will continue to inspire us all.

The thoughts of all Crisis Group’s staff are with Mr Ahtisaari's wife, Eeva Ahtisaari, their son, family and friends, and his colleagues at the CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation.

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