Former Finnish President and career peacemaker Martti Ahtisaari.

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Ahtisaari is perhaps best known in UN circles for the “Ahtisaari Plan” for a stable, self determining Kosovo. But he has had a long career as a peace negotiator and conflict manager. From the Washington Post

The Nobel committee cited the “significant part” he played in resolving the Aceh crisis, a success which came on the heels of a tsunami that had devastated the province and other parts of Indonesia.

That was only a recent success in a long career of mediation that included efforts in Kosovo, Namibia and more recently in Northern Ireland, where he helped inspection weapon’s caches as part of efforts to disarm the Irish Republican Army. The [conflict management nonprofit he founded] also has been active trying to improve security for United Nations personnel in Iraq.

“Throughout his entire adult life, Ahtisaari has worked endlessly to solve several long-lasting conflicts,” said Ole Danbolt Mjoes, chairman of the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee. “He’s an outstanding international mediator. His efforts and achievements have demonstrated the important role of mediation in solving international conflicts.”

Ahtisaari, in a radio interview quoted by the Associated Press, said he felt his work in Namibia was “absolutely the most important” negotiation he helped manage. Then a South African-occupied territory, Namibia was the scene of a decades-long conflict between South African troops and the South West Africa People’s Organization, a liberation movement that drew support from neighboring Angola.

Congratulations, Mr. Ahtisaari. A well deserved award!

(picture from Flickr)

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