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Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari Wins Nobel Peace Prize


Norway's Nobel committee tapped former Finnish president and peace advocate Martti Ahtisaari as this year's peace laureate. Lisa Bryant has more on the 71-year-old politician - and his distinguished career.

Norway's Nobel committee praised Martti Ahtisaari for his efforts to help secure peace in a number of conflict torn countries during his lengthy career as U.N. diplomat, Finnish president and later, peace activist with his organization, the Crisis Management Initiative.

Over the past 20 years, the Nobel statement said, Ahtisaari has played a prominent role in resolving serious and long-lasting conflicts in Namibia, Indonesia, Kosovo and Iraq - among other areas.

In an interview on Norwegian television, Ahtisaari cited peace talks in 1989-1990 in the southwestern African nation of Namibia as his greatest achievement. Those talks helped pave the way for Namibia's independence from south Africa.

Ahtisaari began his career as a school teacher before joining Finland's foreign ministry. He served as a United Nations undersecretary and secretary of state for the Finnish foreign ministry before being elected president of Finland in 1994.

Ahtisaari founded the Crisis Management Initiative in 2000. The Helsinki-based non-profit organization provides solutions for ending conflicts around the world.

Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore won last year's Nobel peace prize along with the U.N. panel on climate change for their work on raising attention to the threat of global warming.

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