By Peter Marten, April 2011
Martti Ahtisaari, 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Finnish president, celebrates the tenth anniversary of Crisis Management Initiative, an organisation he founded, at a seminar packed with high-profile speakers on April 19, 2011. It’s also the first Ahtisaari Day.
The event, entitled Every Peace Matters and streamed live (replay link at end of article), featured Ahtisaari; Kofi Annan; Finnish President Tarja Halonen; American philanthropist Swanee Hunt; Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb; South Sudanese rap artist and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal; and PLO envoy Afif Safieh, among others.
At the same time, the seminar kicked off Ahtisaari Day. In 2011 Ahtisaari Day is celebrated this year on April 19 with Every Peace Matters and on November 11, the name day for Martti in the Finnish calendar. In the future it will be held annually on November 11.
Ahtisaari Day aims to make peace mediation work more widely known by emphasising the importance of education, knowledge and communication. It will include events for experts, the general public and schoolchildren.
Ahtisaari’s distinguished career as a diplomat and peace mediator in Namibia, Kosovo, the Indonesian province of Aceh and elsewhere proves what he noted in his Nobel acceptance speech: “If we work together we can find solutions. We should not accept any excuses from those in power.”
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