Martti Ahtisaari is one of the earliest supporters of UNU-WIDER in Finland. He played a key role in the establishment of the Institute in Helsinki, when he was Under-Secretary of State, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department of Development Cooperation (then FINNIDA, Finnish International Development Agency). His support has continued over the years and he has participated in numerous conferences held in Helsinki, from the first large conference in Helsinki on Debt, Stabilization and Development in August, 1986 to the present time. While President of the Republic of Finland,
Mr. Ahtisaari opened the UNU-WIDER Conference on ‘Making Peace Work’ in June 2004. Once again in June 2005 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the setting up of UNU-WIDER and the Conference on WIDER Thinking Ahead: The future of Development Economics, President Ahtisaari chaired the Keynote Session on ‘Development through Globalization’.