Eeva Ahtisaari
Humanist of the day

Eeva Ahtisaari

Eeva Ahtisaari has been able to follow peace talks and the realisation of Namibia’s first free elections alike. Over the years she has become acquainted with many different ways of life, both in Finland and abroad. In the 1960s she became a Bachelor of Arts in history and concluded her subsequent teacher training. Two decades later she returned to continue her studies. Completing the degree was no guarantee of work or a career, but it transformed her way of thinking.

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

After leaving university and beginning her career in the 1960s, Eeva Ahtisaari still had no final university degree. Her initial enthusiasm for her studies was strong, but money worries had, in part, hindered her concentration.

– I took various positions as a substitute teacher in Kuopio, in addition to which…

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At the beginning of the 1970s and 1980s, Eeva Ahtisaari frequently travelled because of her husband’s work. Nevertheless, she was troubled by the fact that her studies were yet to be finalised. In the middle of the 1980s came the opportunity to correct the situation.

– In 1985 I enrolled…

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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…

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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…

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