Harri Holkeri "is the fourth head of UNMIK, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, since its establishment in 1999. This political portrait of the former Finnish Prime Minister was written by Finnish diplomatist Jaakko Iloniemi.
"Former Prime Minister, peacemaker
"Even before this point, however, Holkeri had been invited to assume a completely new role, as a member of the triumvirate led by American Senator George Mitchell seeking a solution to the complex political problems of Northern Ireland. The group’s highly sensitive and demanding work succeeded so well that they won praise from the parties involved. Thus started a process that step by step finally seems to be resolving the old conflicts.
"Harri Holkeri's links with the United Nations go back a long way, to his membership of the Finnish delegation to the General Assembly in 1963 and 1965. In those days, the Finnish delegation included both civil servants and a number of politicians, the latter thus gaining experience of foreign affairs while also carrying out the required parliamentary supervision of foreign policy. Holkeri showed keen interest in the workings of the UN, both then and later.
"The presidency of the UN General Assembly rotates among the organisation's regional groups. In the autumn of 2000, it was the West European group's turn to put forward a candidate for the post. There was no difficulty in reaching unanimity that Harri Holkeri was clearly the right person to propose...
"Towards the end of July 2003, the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, chose Harri Holkeri to take charge of the UN administration in Kosovo. The two men had worked closely together at the UN in 2000 and it was clear that Annan had learned to trust Holkeri's sense of judgement and his even-handed objectivity when he nominated him for the Kosovo assignment. None of Holkeri's predecessors had remained long in the post." 
- Former Director, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
- Director, Crisis Management Initiative