Friday, February 3, 2012

Toomas Hendrik Ilves

Toomas Hendrik Ilves (born 26 December 1953) is the fourth and current President of Estonia. He is a former diplomat and journalist, was the leader of the Social Democratic Party in the 1990s and later a member of the European Parliament. He was elected to the post by an electoral college on 23 September 2006 and his term as President began on 9 October 2006.

Childhood and Education
Ilves was born in Stockholm, Sweden; his parents were Estonian refugees. He grew up in the United States in Leonia, New Jersey and graduated from Leonia High School in 1972 as valedictorian. He received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Columbia University in 1976 and a master's degree in the same subject from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. In addition to his native Estonian, he is fluent in English, German and Spanish.

Personal Life
Ilves has been married twice. With his first wife, American psychologist Dr. Merry Bullock he has two children: son Luukas (b. 1987), who graduated from Stanford University in 2009 and daughter Juulia Kristiine (b. 1992). In 2004 Ilves married his longtime partner Evelin Int-Lambot with whom he has one daughter, Kadri Keiu (b. 2003).

In public, Ilves almost exclusively wears bow ties. He says that this is because his late father used to do so.

Ilves has a brother, Andres Ilves, head of the Persian and Pashto World Service of the BBC. Andres graduated from Princeton University in the early 1980s and was awarded a fellowship with the public affairs leadership training program Coro Southern California based in Los Angeles, California. Until the early 2000s, Andres Ilves was head of the Afghanistan bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty based in Prague, Czech Republic.

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