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Eeva Ahtisaari

Eeva Irmeli Ahtisaari
Born June 18, 1936, Varkaus

Bachelor of Arts 1962, Master of Arts 1988 (history), University of Helsinki

First lady 1994–2000
Project interviewing veteran Members of Parliament 1990–1991
A year in Namibia (observing the free elections) 1989–1990
Spouse of the UN Special Representative for Namibia 1977–1989
Spouse of the Finnish Ambassador to Tanzania 1974–1977
Secretary of the Espoo Local Heritage Association 1968–1974
Posts as a substitute history teacher 1959–1968

University of Helsinki Alumnus of the Year 1996
Honorary PhD in Educational Science, University of Joensuu, 2004

Photo: Ari Aalto
Writen by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by Matthew Billington

Honorary PhD and Alumnus of the year

Eeva Ahtisaari has followed her husband in many different situations, all the way from the Kosovo peace talks to Aceh. Although many things have occurred according to her husband’s schedule, she does not feel she has missed out.

– For me the most important thing was to complete my Master’s thesis. My husband supported me in that. I have also been able to travel to such places as China and Indonesia. Over the years I have found many friends from around the world. I cannot be anything other than satisfied.

Mrs Ahtisaari is currently involved, among others, in the Minna Canth and Juhani Aho societies. Moreover, she has not entirely abandoned the university world.

– The University of Helsinki named me Alumnus of the Year in 1996. I didn’t participate in my own Master’s degree graduation ceremony, but I have later become familiar with graduation ceremonies.

The University of Joensuu awarded Eeva an honorary PhD in 2004.

Eeva Ahtisaary finds that her background in the humanities has been nothing but a benefit through life.

– Study in the humanities gives one a rounded education. It provides the opportunity to understand life at a deeper level. In the humanities truth cannot be shown through experiments, and that is one of the humanities’ challenges and teachings. One must learn accept that ultimate truth will perhaps not be found at all.

– Writing my Master’s thesis was one of the most rewarding periods of my life. I learnt to demand clarity from both myself and the University. It gave me self-confidence and strength.

WSOY published Eeva Ahtisaari’s memoirs in 2002.


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