Cyprus and Namibia. Ireland and Aceh. Darfur and Kosovo. The Finnish professionals of peace-mediation have been involved in solving these and several other serious conflicts around the world. The most renowned of them all, President Martti Ahtisaari has stated: "Peace is a matter of will. All conflicts can be settled, and there are no excuses for allowing them to become eternal.” In the same spirit, Martti Ahtisaari’s organisation, Crisis Management Initiative, will organise a 10th anniversary seminar in April. Among the participants in the discussion about peace-mediation will be, for instance, Kofi Annan.
The achievements of CMI will be celebrated by getting acquainted with future challenges. The theme of the organisation’s 10th anniversary seminar is Every Peace Matters: Every Peace is Worth Striving for. The seminar aims to open new perspectives on conflict resolution and peace-mediation. The event will be attended by world-class opinion leaders from both donor and mediator communities, including the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The seminar can be followed as a live webcast on 19 April from 2 pm to 6 pm at www.mtv3.fi.
This year, the anniversary seminar is the first part of the Ahtisaari Days, the second part of which will be organised in collaboration between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and its partners in autumn 2011.
After leaving office as the President of the Republic of Finland (1994-2000), Martti Ahtisaari returned to full-time peace-mediation work. For this purpose, he established Crisis Management Initiative (CMI). CMI is an independent non-governmental organisation producing both knowledge and practical solutions for peace processes and conflict resolution.
According to Ahtisaari, “in work for peace, the starting point should always be conflict prevention.”
If security can be maintained in society, the probability of any conflicts emerging falls. Accordingly, CMI’s basic task is cited to be building sustainable peace.
In its practical work, “CMI brings security and development policy issues closer to each other and strives to contribute to the international community’s ability to take action in conflict resolution.” In other words, peace-mediation is just one part of endorsing comprehensive, sustainable security.
CMI acted as one of the main mediators in, for instance, the Aceh peace process, for which Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, the organisation is continuously involved in various projects and assignments around the world.
President Ahtisaari has a very humble attitude toward success: “There is nothing special in neither Martti Ahtisaari nor Pekka Haavisto. I know large numbers of people like that in this country [Finland],” he pointed out in a television interview in December 2010.