Startup event Slush took off with President Ahtisaari’s interview

Published on Thursday, 12th of November 2015

The first day of Slush Impact started with a Fireside chat together with CMI’s founder President Martti Ahtisaari.

On 10 November at the startup event Slush, President Ahtisaari was interviewed by Anne Berner, angel investor and the Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland. The discussion revolved around peace, sustainable development goals, and the art of negotiation. The interview with President Ahtisaari was part of Slush Impact, a programme within Slush for startups and social innovators addressing the global development agenda and making positive societal contribution. Slush is a yearly startup event at the Helsinki Exhibition center where startups and investors meet.

ahtisaari slush

President Ahtisaari and Minister Anne Berner chatting at Slush, a yearly startup event held in Helsinki.

“When I founded CMI 15 years ago, it was like a startup. Now I see it as high tech company and I am very proud of what it is today, one of the leading peace organisations in the world,” Ahtisaari stated.

The discussion dealt with the notion that innovating together allows for increased creation of impact. Ahtisaari emphasised that it is essential to be able to have close collaboration with innovative startups, and not to be in isolation.

“NGOs need to keep their eyes open for innovation,” he said.

For greater impact, Ahtisaari advised NGOs, startups and third sector companies to be well prepared when they present their cases. Moreover, he instructed to be very clear on what they can do, and to take care of the relationships that they create. Ahtisaari strongly believes that every conflict can be solved. He highlighted that everyone needs to contribute to the negotiation work. It is vital for peace mediators to be able to have the support of other countries as well.

President emphasized the importance of the Nordic welfare model. Economic growth is required in order to maintain the model of welfare that we are accustomed to having. Ahtisaari stated that in order to support startups, NGOs, and third sector companies, we all need to put our energy together.