United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the 11th of October 2011 announced the appointment of Farid Zarif of Afghanistan as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Mr. Zarif succeeds Lamberto Zannier of Italy, who headed UNMIK until June 2011. The Secretary-General expresses his deep appreciation for his successful management of the Mission in a challenging political environment and his dedicated efforts to further peace and stability in Kosovo and the region.
Mr. Zarif has extensive experience in diplomatic, international and United Nations affairs. During his diplomatic service, he served in various positions inside and outside Afghanistan, including as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York from 1981 to 1987; Deputy Foreign Minister from 1987 to 1989; and Presidential Adviser on International Affairs from 1989 to 1991.
Having joined the United Nations in 1993, Mr. Zarif has since served at Headquarters in New York as well as in political, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in Eritrea, Liberia, South Africa, Iraq and Sudan in various capacities, including Chief of Section, Director of Division, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator and Chief of Staff. He was appointed Director of the Europe and Latin America Division in the Office of Operations, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in August 2010, and served as Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Kosovo since August 2011.
Mr. Zarif graduated from Kabul University’s Faculty of Law and Political Science in 1973, and entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the following year. After graduating with honours from the Afghan Institute of Diplomacy, he studied international relations and diplomacy at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Born in 1951 in Kabul, Afghanistan, he is married and has two sons.