Kalevi Sorsa, Finland’s longest-serving prime minister, died on Jan. 16. Cause of death was not released. He was 73.
Sorsa studied journalism and political science, but dropped out of school before graduating. He became a reporter for Social Democratic Party-affiliated newspapers then worked as an editor at Tammi Publishers. In 1959, Sorsa joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a program specialist in Paris. There he gained both linguistic skills and international experience that would serve him well in the political arena.
Sorsa was elected to Parliament in 1970 and named chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee. Within five years, he became Prime Minister of Finland and the head of his party. From 1972 to 1989, Sorsa held the post of Foreign Minister three times, and that of Prime Minister four times.
After retiring from politics in 1991, Sorsa served as a member of the governing board of the Bank of Finland. His state funeral was attended by President Tarja Halonen, as well as former Presidents Mauno Koivisto and Martti Ahtisaari.