Arnold Rüütel is the former President of Estonia. He was inaugurated as the President of the Republic of Estonia on 8 October 2001.
Mr. Rüütel graduated from Jäneda Agricultural College 1950 and then worked as a senior agronomist in the department of agriculture of Saaremaa's then administration. From 1955 to 1957, Arnold Rüütel was a teacher at Tartu School of Mechanization of Agriculture. Arnold Rüütel graduated from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Estonian Agricultural Academy in 1964. In 1969 Mr. Rüütel was elected rector of the Estonian Agricultural Academy.
Since 1977 Mr. Rüütel has held several high state positions, first in the political sphere, and then in the executive and legislative sectors. In 1983 he was elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR. Mr. Rüütel has played an important role in the preparation of the Estonian sovereignty declaration and its adoption on 16 November 1988, which laid the basis for the disintegration of the USSR. Arnold Rüütel was elected Chairman of the Supreme Council, a post he held until October 1992.
In 1990 the Council of the Baltic States was established in Tallinn under Mr. Rüütel, which played an important role in the formation of a united front of the Baltic States. He was also the Head of State of Estonia in later years and played an important role in uniting the people and political forces in the struggle for a common cause.
Between 1991 and 1992 Arnold Rüütel was a member of the Constitutional Assembly drafting the new Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. In 1995 he was also elected as the head of the delegation of Riigikogu to the Baltic Assembly and then until 1999, Chairman of the Presidium of the Baltic Assembly.
Apart from his work, Arnold Rüütel is also known for his active participation in public life, namely he was Chairman of the Estonian Society for Nature Conservation advocating preservation of nature and Chairman of the Forselius Society promoting educational life. Furthermore in 1991 Arnold Rüütel delivered a speech in the UN General Assembly as the Head of State of Estonia. In 1992 he gave a speech at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. This conference laid the basis for a new stage in global nature conservation.
Arnold Rüütel has published more than one hundred scientific works both in Estonia and abroad.