Martti Ahtisaari visits MAPS

24 Mar 2015 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 24 MAR (NAMPA) – Teachers and learners on Tuesday bestowed praise, song and dance upon Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari during his visit to their primary school named after him.
The Martti Ahtisaari Primary School (MAPS), situated in the Wanaheda residential area of the capital, was founded in 1991 and named after Ahtisaari, a United Nations (UN) diplomat and mediator, in 1997.
The school accommodates learners from Grade One to Seven, and has 51 teachers.
Ahtisaari's last visit to the school was in 2009.
He was on Tuesday accompanied by his wife, Eva Ahtisaari, and a delegation from the Finnish Embassy here.
During the occasion, he encouraged the about 1 554 learners to study hard.
“Learning does not end when you are leaving school. Finish your studies with a curiosity for knowledge. You need to be open and learn every day,” he said.
Ahtisaari said there are many children in the world who have no opportunity to attend school or receive a decent education. He noted that he wakes up every morning and ask himself “what good can I do today?”
Speaking at the same event, Finnish Ambassador to Namibia Anne Saloronta said the people of Finland are proud of the hard and good work of the teachers and learners of that school.
“School plays a very key role in education, where you receive guidance and training, and equipped with skills. Education is the best investment for a prosperous life of citizens; it promotes equality, reduce poverty and nurture you,” she noted, while calling on learners to take school seriously.
On his part, the school’s principal Hermanus Bock said the school celebrated its first Ahtisaari Day on 16 November 2011 by planting trees and establishing a mural.
He commended Ahtisaari for the partnership which exists between the primary school and other schools in Finland. Bock was part of a two-member delegation from the school which visited Finland in celebration of the Finnish International Teachers’ Day in 2013 on the invitation of the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).
Ahtisaari founded the independent, non-governmental organisation in the year 2000. It works to resolve conflict and to build sustainable peace. CMI has offices in Helsinki, Finland and Brussels (Belgium), and activities in Liberia, Ethiopia, the Black Sea region, Middle East and Aceh, a special region of Indonesia.
The school has since 2003 received support from the Pasila Rotary Club in Finland in the form of among other things scholarships for good students, sports equipment like footballs, and books to the school's library.
MAPS also has a twin school in Oulu, Finland, and the two schools regularly have exchange of students and teachers.
“Mr President (Ahtisaari), it goes without saying that the mentioned relationships, friendships, co-operation and support are because of your association with the school and our country. Our school community and the nation at large will forever cherish your contribution and love for this country and its people,” he added.
Ahtisaari served as United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from 1977 to 1981, working to secure the independence of Namibia from the Republic of South Africa. He was sent to Namibia in April 1989 as the UN Special Representative to head the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG). After independence in 1989, Ahtisaari was awarded honorary Namibian citizenship.
He was the 10th President of Finland from 1994 to 2000.