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Rehn, Elisabeth (1935—)

Rehn, Elisabeth (1935—)

Finnish administrator and politician . Born on April 16, 1935, in Helsinki, Finland; B.Sc. (Economics), Helsinki, 1957; D.Sc. (Economics), Helsinki, 1994; D.Sc. (Politics), Turku, 1998; married Ove Rehn, in 1955; children: Veronica, Joakiam, Charlotta, and Johan.

Elisabeth Rehn, who was born in Helsinki in 1935, worked as an office manager for Renecta Ltd. (1960–79) and Rehn Trading Ltd. (1978–79). She also taught vocational guidance and was a member of the Kauniainen City Council from 1973 to 1979. In 1979, as a member of the Swedish People's Party (SFP), she was elected to the Finnish Parliament. She would remain there until 1995. Rehn served as leader of the SFP parliamentary group from 1987 until 1990, when in June of that year she was appointed defense minister. With that appointment, Rehn became the first woman in Europe to hold a defense portfolio, and the second woman in the world to do so. As well, in Finland's presidential election of January–February 1994, Rehn came in second. She was a member of the European Parliament from 1995 to 1996, and spent four years working in the Balkans: first as Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; and then as UN undersecretary general, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Bosnia-Herzegovina, from January 16, 1998 to July 15, 1999.

Jacquie Maurice , freelance writer, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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