Over the years, Eeva Ahtisaari has also come to know Africa. At the end of the 1960s she travelled with her husband to Tanzania and later to Namibia.
It was a challenge to work in a representative role and live in a strange culture. Eeva Ahtisaari nevertheless stresses that it develops one’s creativity and broad-mindedness.
– In such a situation you just have to accept that it is possible to live that way too
While in Namibia, she was, through her own efforts, a role model for Namibian women.
– There was also a UN delegation there with lots of women. We functioned as female role models in Namibia. I was in an ideal position, as I was unafraid of whites and I knew many educated Namibian women who had returned from exile.
Although Africa still has many problems, including internal strife, progress has been made.
– I visited Namibia with Martti at the beginning of 2015. There had just been parliamentary elections, and the result was an equal number of male and female MPs. Namibia has developed tremendously as a result of peace, but these matters are not reported.
Her own experiences have led Mrs Ahtisaari to hope that people can engage in the current debate on immigration and other cultures with understanding and a willingness to learn about the other culture.
– The lifestyles of Finns are also quite diverse if you compare, for example, single people and families, or Eastern and Western Finland. In my opinion, a multicultural society is more interesting. Ideas can be more easily exchanged. Of course it is more difficult when there are many different cultures, but I bet that the American economy has succeeded in part just because of its multicultural base.