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Ambassador Janne Taalas appointed Chief Executive Officer of CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation

Published on Saturday, 17 April 2021

Janne Taalas has nearly 25 years of experience in various positions in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. “We will have the best possible CEO in Janne. He has the experience and networks to do the job,” said Alexander Stubb, Chair of the CMI Board. Taalas will take up the post on 1 May.

Janne Taalas. Photo: Kimmo Räisänen.

Taalas, 54, has worked for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs since 1997. He has a strong background in international peace and security issues, most recently as Special Envoy of Finland leading the preparations for the 2020 Afghanistan Conference. In 2008, he helped broker peace in Georgia during Finland’s chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Taalas has also worked as deputy to Finland’s Permanent Representative to the UN, as Ambassador to Rome and as Finland’s cyber envoy. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Oxford University.

“We will have the best possible CEO in Janne,” said CMI Board Chair Alexander Stubb. “He is highly regarded as a colleague, leader and partner. His being Finnish will also be an advantage in our work at a time of rising international tensions.”

“I have followed CMI’s journey throughout its 20 years of existence and have seen its rise as an international peace broker. It is a great pleasure to be part of continuing the CMI story in the new decade,” said Taalas.

He will lead the implementation of the CMI’s new strategy to 2030. This aims to strengthen the capacity of CMI and peace mediators to prevent and resolve conflicts in the volatile global environment. CMI will continue its global peace work and will invest in the empowerment of women and the use of digital technologies in peace processes.

There is a growing need for peace mediators. Geopolitical tensions, inequalities and the effects of climate change have made the world a less peaceful place. An independent, Finnish mediator such as CMI can build trust between conflict parties, including when it is difficult for official diplomacy to do so. The Covid-19 crisis has increased tensions and uncertainty, but the CMI has nevertheless managed to continue with its work successfully. The organisation has brought parties to conflicts together virtually in a situation where physical meetings are hard to arrange.

On Friday 4 December 2020, CMI’s annual meeting decided that the organisation would operate as a foundation. The new foundation will be called the CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation and the reconfiguration will take place during this spring. The change will ensure continuity in Finnish peace mediation expertise, improve CMI’s governance and oversight, and boost its operational and financial capacity. CMI’s work and activities will otherwise continue unchanged. Hanna Klinge, who has served as Acting Executive Director, will continue to work for the foundation as its Deputy CEO.