- 31.10.2023 - 09:11 

Martti Ahtisaari - Obituary

(June 23, 1937 to October 16, 2023)

HSG Honorary Doctor Martti Ahtisaari, born in Viipuri (now Russian: Vyborg) in Karelia, began his career in 1959 as a teacher at the Swedish-Pakistani Institute of Technology in Karachi. In 1965 he joined the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was Finnish Ambassador to Tanzania from 1973 to 1976, with responsibility for Zambia, Somalia and Mozambique. He was later appointed UN Commissioner and UN Special Envoy for Namibia, and finally held the post of UN Under-Secretary-General from 1987 to 1991. From 1994 to 2000, he served as President of the Republic of Finland.

In more than three decades, Martti Ahtisaari successfully mediated in numerous international conflicts, including Namibia (1989-1990), Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1993), Kosovo (1999), Austria (2000), the Horn of Africa (2003), and the Indonesian province of Aceh (2005). He was also personally active in post-conflict peace management.

In 2007, the University of St.Gallen (HSG) honored his decades of mediation and his outstanding services to the common good by awarding him an honorary doctorate in political science. The award honored his commitment to crisis prevention, active crisis management and post-conflict political reconstruction. Martti Ahtisaari is "an outstanding role model for responsible international action," according to the HSG Senate's statement of appreciation. Martti Ahtisaari maintains a worldwide network of contacts, which he uses time and again to promote peace. His personal qualities include not least his diplomatic skills, his impartiality and patience, his goal orientation and his negotiating skills. One year after receiving an honorary doctorate from the HSG, Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his many years of efforts to resolve international conflicts.

Our honorary doctor Martti Ahtisaari was a bridge builder across borders and will remain in our best memories. We extend our sincere condolences to his family.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ehrenzeller,                               Prof. Dr. Dirk Lehmkuhl

Rector of the University of St. Gallen                        Dean of the School of Economics and Political Science