|President of Estonia|
|Assumed office |
11 October 2021
|Prime Minister||Kaja Kallas|
|Preceded by||Kersti Kaljulaid|
|Director of the Estonian National Museum|
9 April 2018 – 7 September 2021
|Preceded by||Tõnis Lukas|
|Succeeded by||Kertu Saks|
|Auditor General of Estonia|
7 April 2013 – 7 March 2018
|Preceded by||Mihkel Oviir|
|Succeeded by||Janar Holm|
|Rector of the University of Tartu|
3 July 2007 – 30 June 2012
|Preceded by||Tõnu Lehtsaar (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Volli Kalm|
|Rector of the Estonian University of Life Sciences|
|Preceded by||Henn Elmet|
|Succeeded by||Mait Klaassen|
|Born||26 March 1958|
|Alma mater||Estonian University of Life Sciences|
Alar Karis (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈɑlɑr ˈkɑris]; born 26 March 1958) is an Estonian molecular geneticist, developmental biologist, civil servant and politician who, since 11 October 2021, has served as the sixth president of Estonia.
Karis was born in Tartu on 26 March 1958 as son of botanist Harry Karis. He graduated from the Estonian Agricultural Academy in 1981. In 1999, he became a professor at the University of Tartu.
Karis served as rector of the Estonian University of Life Sciences from 2003 to 2007, as rector of the University of Tartu from 2007 to 2012, as the Auditor General of Estonia from 2013 to 2018, and as director of the Estonian National Museum from 2018 to 2021.
In August 2021, he was approached by the president of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas with a prospect of nomination for the post of president of Estonia in the upcoming autumn election. He accepted the nomination and his candidacy was subsequently endorsed by both coalition parties, the Reform Party and the Centre Party. On 31 August 2021, Karis was elected as the president of Estonia with a two thirds majority of 72 votes in the Riigikogu. He assumed the office on 11 October 2021.
The election received criticism and calls for electoral reform due to the absence of opposing candidates. In his acceptance speech Karis referenced the "turmoil that surrounded the presidential selection process" and called for changes of the system to be examined by the Riigikogu, such as using an enlarged electoral college, facilitating the nomination of candidates or even using direct election. He promised to be a balancer and a mediator during his presidential term.
He has been married to Sirje Karis since 1977, with whom he has 3 children and 5 grandchildren. Besides Estonian, Karis is fluent in English and Russian. Although he is fluent in Russian, he has admitted that it needs some practice since he has not had to speak the language in a long time.