He will succeed Karin Landgren of Sweden, who completed her assignment in July 2015. The Secretary-General is grateful for Ms. Landgren’s service, including during the Ebola outbreak.
Mr. Zarif is currently the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). He 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, Iraq, Liberia, South Africa and Sudan in various capacities, including Chief of Section, Director of Division, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator and Chief of Staff.
He served as Director of the Europe and Latin America Division in the Office of Operations at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 2010 and 2011.
Mr. Zarif graduated from Kabul University’s Faculty of Law and Political Science in 1973. 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, he is married and has two sons.