Alar Karis


October 25, 2021

Alar Karis (Tartu, March 26, 1958) is an Estonian biologist, civil servant and politician, President of Estonia since 11 October 2021. From 2007 to 2012, he was the Rector of the University of Tartu, from 2013 to 2018 he was the President of the Estonian State Audit Office, and from January 2018 he was the Director of the Estonian National Museum. On 31 August 2021, the Estonian Parliament elected him President of the country.


Professional career

No. 2 in Tartu he attended high school, where he graduated in 1976. He graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Estonian University of Agriculture (now: Estonian University of Life Sciences) in Tartu in 1981. From 1981 to 1987 he was a research fellow at the Estonian Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine. In 1987 he obtained a candidate's degree from the Institute of Experimental Veterinary Medicine of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences. From 1987 to 1992, he was a member of the Eesti Biokeskus, a research institute for genetic research in a joint venture between the University of Tartu and the National Institute of Chemistry, Physics and Biophysics. His field of research was developmental science. From 1992 he carried out molecular genetic research at a foreign university in Hamburg, London and Rotterdam. He returned home in 1996 and became a staff member at the University of Tartu, where he was appointed university professor and head of the Department of Zoology in 1999, but left the university that year. In 2003 he was appointed Rector of the Estonian Agricultural University in Tartu. Under the rector of Karis, the university was reorganized in 2005 and renamed the Estonian University of Life Sciences. Karis was the rector until 2007. In the spring of 2007, he applied for the position of Rector of the University of Tartu, which was vacated prematurely due to the appointment of Jaak Aaviksoo, former Rector as Minister of Defense. The first round of the rector's election held on 18 January 2007, followed by the second and third rounds, was unsuccessful, and none of the candidates at the time succeeded in obtaining 195 of the possible 257 votes. Subsequently, Alar Karis, who was nominated by the Technical Institute of the University, the Faculty of Physics and Chemistry, the Faculty of Biology and Geography, and the Faculty of Medicine, also applied for the position of Rector. In the third round of the rector election process held in May 2007, Karis finally managed to get the required number of votes (received 198 votes). He then took office on 1 July 2007. His five-year term as rector expired on June 30, 2012, and he did not reapply for the position. He was followed by Volli Kalm at the head of the University of Tartu.

Public and political activities

In 2010, during his tenure as Rector of Tartu, he became Honorary Consul of Chile. On March 26, 2013, he was appointed Head of the State Audit Office of Estonia.

Private life

In the 1970s and 1980s, he played the violin and plucked instruments in the Tartu Rentaablus country ensemble.



Data sheet of Alar Karis in the Estonian Scientific Repository (Eesti Teadusinfosüstem)

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