Max Jakobson was a great intellectual, a patriotic Finn and a committed cosmopolitan.
He could explain Finland’s Cold War predicament better than anyone else. He was able to shed light on the aims and intentions of the Soviet Union. He guided Finland through the Cold War and was an early proponent of Finland’s membership in the European Union. He was greatly respected beyond Finland’s borders. Henry Kissinger always stopped to see him on his way to Moscow. At least two of Sweden’s Prime Ministers (Bildt and Persson) considered him mandatory reading for their staff.
He is also know as a man who almost became the Secretary General of the United Nations. The world would have been better off if he, and not Kurt Waldheim, had assumed the position.
For me, Max Jakobson was a friend and a mentor; a role model and idol. There is no one quite like him.