Press release
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
2.10.2008 16.14

Ahtisaari received the UNESCO Peace Prize

President Martti Ahtisaari accepted the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize established at the initiative of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, on Thursday, 2 October. The award ceremony took place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

In announcing the jury’s decision in May, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the chairman of the prize jury, said that Ahtisaari was chosen to receive the prize for “his lifetime contribution to world peace.”

The other members of the jury are: Andreas Ådahl, President of Cultural Heritage without Borders; Mohammed Bedjaoui, former Algerian Foreign Minister and former President of the International Court of Justice; Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland; Jean Foyer, former French Minister of Justice; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the Argentinean human rights activist; Mário Soares, former President of Portugal; and Iba Der Thiam, First Vice-President of the National Assembly of Senegal. Of the jury members, Henry Kissinger and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel are Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

The UNESCO Peace Prize was established in 1989. It is awarded “to honour living people who have contributed significantly to the promotion, research or safeguarding of peace while complying with the Charter of the United Nations and UNESCO’s constitution.” The prize is named for Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who was the first President of the Ivory Coast from 1960 to 1993.

Nelson Mandela and Frederik De Klerk of South Africa received the prize when it was granted for the first time in 1991. Two years later they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Moreover, the 1993 prize-winners, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Perez and Yasser Arafat, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.

Additional information: First Secretary (Administrative Affairs) Aino Elfvengren, Unit for UN and General Global Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 357 6265, and First Secretary Ilkka Nordberg, Unit for UN and General Global Affairs, mobile tel. + 358 400 328 692