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Kersti Kaljulaid
Kersti Kaljulaid - 2018.jpg
Kaljulaid in 2018
President of Estonia
In office
10 October 2016 – 11 October 2021
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas
Jüri Ratas
Kaja Kallas
Preceded by Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Succeeded by Alar Karis
Personal details
Born (1969-12-30) 30 December 1969 (age 53)
Tartu, Estonia
Political party Independent
Other political
Pro Patria Union
Georgi-Rene Maksimovski
(m. 2011)
Children 4
Relatives Raimond Kaljulaid (half-brother)
Alma mater University of Tartu
Kersti Kaljulaid 2021. aasta Arvamusfestivalil
Kersti Kaljulaid at the Opinion Festival 2021 in Paide, Estonia

Kersti Kaljulaid (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈkersti ˈkɑljuˈlɑi̯d]; born 30 December 1969) is an Estonian politician who served as the fifth president of Estonia between 2016 and 2021. She was also the first and only female head of state of Estonia since the country declared independence in 1918, as well as the youngest president, aged 46 at the time of her election.

Kaljulaid, a state official who at the time served as Estonia's representative in the European Court of Auditors, entered the 2016 Estonian presidential election race at the sixth round after five previous unsuccessful rounds. She was nominated on 30 September 2016 by the majority of parliamentary parties as a joint candidate for president, as the only official candidate for the sixth round. Kaljulaid was voted president on 3 October 2016, with 81 votes and 17 abstentions.

Early life and education

In 1987, Kaljulaid graduated from Tallinn Secondary School no. 44. During her studies there, she was a member of the Students' Scientific Association, specializing in ornithology. In 1992, she graduated from University of Tartu cum laude as a biologist. She is a member of Estonian female student corporation, Filiae Patriae. In 2001, she graduated from the University of Tartu with an MBA in business management. Her thesis was titled as "Riigi poolt asutatud sihtasutuste juhtimissüsteemi täiustamine" or "The improvement of the management system of state-founded foundations" in English.

Aku Sorainen ja Kersti Kaljulaid
University of Tartu Council seminar in 2015.


Business career

From 1996 to 1997 Kaljulaid was a sales manager in state-owned telecom Eesti Telefon and from 1997 to 1998 a project manager in Hoiupanga Investeeringute AS. From 1998 to 1999 she was employed in Hansabank's investment banking division Hansabank Markets. From 1999 to 2002, Kaljulaid worked as the economic advisor of Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar. From 2002 to 2004, she was the director of Iru Power Plant, a subsidiary of the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia. She was the first woman to lead a power plant in Estonia.

In 2004, when Estonia joined the European Union, Kaljulaid was appointed the country's representative at the European Court of Auditors. Since 2011, Kaljulaid has been the chairperson of the board of the University of Tartu.


In 2017, Kaljulaid became the first Estonian to be featured in the Forbes magazine's list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, placed at 78th, and came twenty second among the most influential female political leaders.

Personal life

Kaljulaid has a daughter and a son from her first marriage. She is also a grandmother of three. Kaljulaid's second husband is Georgi-Rene Maksimovski; they have two sons. Kaljulaid's half-brother is politician and member of parliament Raimond Kaljulaid.

Besides Estonian, Kaljulaid is fluent in English, Finnish, French and to a certain extent, Russian.


National honour

  • EST Order of the National Coat of Arms - 1st Class BAR.png Grand Master and Collar of the Order of the National Coat of Arms (10 October 2016)
  • EST Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana - 1st Class BAR.png Grand Master of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana
  • EST Order of the White Star - 1st Class BAR.png Grand Master of the Order of the White Star
  • EST Order of the Cross of the Eagle 1st Class BAR.png Grand Master of the Order of the Cross of the Eagle
  • EST Estonian Red Cross Order 1Class BAR.svg Grand Master of the Order of the Estonian Red Cross

Foreign honours


  • In 2009, European Movement Estonia awarded Kaljulaid with the European of the Year title.
  • In 2014, the Open Estonia Foundation awarded her the Award of Unity for her analyses and comments explaining the function of European Union for Estonian audiences.
  • In 2020, the Estonian LGBT Association awarded her the Rainbow Hero Award (vikerkaarekangelase auhind), for her public support of the gay community in Estonia.
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