SPP Students Interview Nobel Laureate Martti Ahtisaari

Corina Ajder, Suluck Fai Lamubol, Ilija Prachkovski, and Lucia Sobekova (all MPA ’16) interviewed Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, on April 15. The interview was organized by Jon Greenwald, vice president of theInternational Crisis Group (ICG) and SPP visiting professor. Greenwald is also the external advisor for the students’ Passion Project team that is working on a project for ICG: “Drawing Lessons from 20 Years of Conflicts and Post-Conflict Transitions Worldwide.

The four-student Crisis Group team asked Ahtisaari about the options he considered during the negotiation process, the strategy he followed, and the obstacles he had to overcome; and about his assessment of international groups such as ICG.

During the interview, Ahtisaari said that the greatest obstacle he faced during the negotiations was that he knew from the beginning that they would take a lot of time. He noted, however, that he was a “stubborn Finn.” He went on to comment that there was still a lot to be done in Kosovo. “Signing an agreement does not solve problems,” he said. “It is then that the real work starts.”

When asked about the role of international organizations such as ICG, Ahtisaari said that he has always particularly admired their analysis and policy recommendations. He commented also about the importance of these types of external contacts to the success of any negotiation. “The more contacts you develop and the more trust people have in your work,” he said, “the more successful you will be.”