Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari (pronounced ( listen); born 23 June 1937) is a Finnish politician, the tenth President of Finland (1994–2000), Nobel Peace Prize laureate and United Nations diplomat and mediator, noted for his international peace work.
Ahtisaari was a UN Special Envoy at the Kosovo status process negotiations, aimed at resolving a long-running dispute in Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. In October 2008, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts". The Nobel statement said that Ahtisaari has played a prominent role in resolving many conflicts in Namibia, Indonesia, Kosovo and Iraq, among other areas.
Martti Ahtisaari was born in Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia). His father, Oiva Ahtisaari (whose grandfather Julius Marenius Adolfsen had emigrated with his parents to Finland in 1872 from Tistedalen in southern Norway) took Finnish citizenship in 1929 and changed his surname from Adolfsen in 1937. The Continuation War (World War II) took Martti's father to the Eastern Front as an NCO army mechanic, while his mother, Tyyne, moved to Kuopio with her son to escape immediate danger from the war. Kuopio was where Ahtisaari spent most of his childhood, eventually attending the Kuopion Lyseo high school.