Ban Ki-moon
South Jorean politicians Current Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before becoming Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he graduated from university, accepting his first post in Calcutta, India. In the foreign ministry, he established a reputation for modesty and competence.
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Pan, Moon of Saturn, Looks Like a Cosmic Ravioli (or Maybe a Walnut)
NYTimes - 18 days
In photographs by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, the closest images ever taken, the tiny, wrinkly moon has a deep ridge that could be a couple of miles high.
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NYTimes article
The Earth Is Not Flat, Mr. Trump
Huffington Post - 29 days
The question is not whether climate change exists but what to do about it. It is difficult to find a respected scientist in the United States or around the world who disputes man-made contributions to climate change, certainly not the thousands of scientists first organized by the United Nations in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yet, the new administration is fueled by “alternative facts” from the anti-science earth-is-flat crowd. President Donald Trump has called it a hoax. And the Republican Party platform in 2016 said climate change was invented by “environmental extremists” in the Democratic Party working to “sustain the illusion of an environmental crisis.” That platform reverses the GOP’s 2008 position when it recognized that human activity had increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, including chlorofluorocarbons. More alarming is that funds to research climate change may be cut, prompting universities and scientists to store informa ...
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Rihanna Is Harvard's Humanitarian Of The Year
Huffington Post - about 1 month
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); As if Rihanna hasn’t contributed enough to the greater good of humanity with more than a decade’s worth of irresistible pop bangers, it’s her work outside the recording booth that’s had the biggest impact.  Every year, Harvard University selects a leader in public life who’s dedicated themselves to service by honoring them with the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award. On Thursday, Rihanna was named the 2017 honoree for her charitable work promoting healthcar ...
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Michael Flynn’s Sacking Alters The Course Of Trump’s NATO Policy
Huffington Post - about 1 month
The Trump administration seems to be reassuring European countries that a more rational attitude by the U.S. toward NATO is on the horizon after Trump himself described the trans-Atlantic alliance as obsolete. Europeans are also reassured by developments that have shone a more scrutinizing and politically realistic light on US-Russian relations. The two issues are linked because weakening the American weight and undermining the White House’s faith in NATO serves as one of the most important priorities for the Kremlin. The European powers were thus justifiably worried by the news of an anticipated intimate relationship between Trump and Putin, which would bypass the shared interests of the Western allies on both sides of the Atlantic, and challenge the foundations of the alliance that can otherwise stand up to a more assertive Russia, as it had done the Soviet Union before it. This reassurance occurred after the sacking of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who concealed h ...
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Ban Ki-moon Drops Out of South Korean Presidential Race
Wall Street Journal - about 2 months
The decision by former the U.N. secretary-general paves the way for rival Moon Jae-in, a candidate who has called for closer ties with North Korea, the renegotiation of a U.S.-backed missile defense system and a tougher line on conglomerates.
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Wall Street Journal article
Ban Ki-moon Says He Won’t Run for President of South Korea
NYTimes - about 2 months
The former U.N. chief’s surprise announcement deprived conservatives of their likeliest candidate to succeed the sidelined president, Park Geun-hye.
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NYTimes article
Trump's 'Gag Rule' Contradicts UN Policy Helping Women In Distress
Huffington Post - about 2 months
Just days after a global outpouring of support for a movement demanding protection for the rights of women and other advances promoted by civil society, Donald Trump has fully turned back the clock. On Jan. 23, with a stroke of his presidential pen, he banned all official American aid to any global organization that provides abortions or even information about the procedure. This move might satisfy the Republican right and religious opponents of abortion in the Roman Catholic hierarchy as well as some evangelical Protestant churches. But worldwide, it amounts to an attack on the health and rights of millions of women in the poorest nations, conflict zones, refugee camps and ad hoc settlements thrown together after catastrophic natural disasters, where rape and other abuse -- usually perpetrated by men -- become daily experiences on a large scale. Moreover, the US policy, dating back to 1984 and enforced by only Republican presidents since then, undermines a decision by the former ...
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Letter to Ban Ki-Moon from the midst of the gathering darkness
Huffington Post - about 2 months
I know that many have approached you about the possibility of your serving as president of Korea after the anticipated impeachment of President Park. You have a unique set of skills and a broad range of friends in the international community that would serve you well. Today, you are surrounded by people asking for your help in this moment of tremendous uncertainty in Korea. But I hope that you have a moment to step back from the crowd and contemplate your role in history now that you have become such a critical figure. There are several people out there who are entirely capable of serving as the president of the Republic of Korea. But there is an even more critical job, and you are the only one who is qualified to play that role as the former Secretary General of the United Nations. Last week Donald Trump was sworn in as the president of the United States, someone who has openly opposed a commitment to universal standards on human rights and who has taken as a central adviser John ...
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Skepticism and Support in South Korea as Ban Ki-moon Weighs Presidential Bid
NYTimes - 2 months
After a 10-year run as the secretary general of the United Nations, Mr. Ban returned home to residents imploring him to run and critics who say he couldn’t restore trust in government.
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NYTimes article
Nikki Haley Tells US Congress: The UN Does Matter
Huffington Post - 2 months
Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump's nominee to become the United States ambassador to the United Nations, appeared in a confirmation hearing on January 18 lasting more than three hours in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She introduced herself in an address to members that was both autobiographical -- the daughter of immigrants -- and political. Acknowledging her neophyte standing in international affairs, she announced at the outset: "Like most government agencies, the United Nations could benefit from a fresh set of eyes. I will take an outsider's look at the institution as I have in every challenge in my life, I will come to the UN to work and to work smart." Her testimony and answers to senators' questions revealed throughout the three hours that she intends to work most closely with the Trump national security team, which is led by Michael Flynn, a controversial retired general who has been seen as a conspiracy theorist in the past, focusing on distrust of Muslims. H ...
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New UN chief at Davos seeks allies in business
Yahoo News - 2 months
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used his first address at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday to push for a new partnership with business to help fight climate change and reduce poverty. Guterres took over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1 with an ambitious plan to reform the United Nations at a time when it is struggling to raise funds for its humanitarian work and to address global crises.
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Yahoo News article
AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from the past week in Asia
Yahoo News - 2 months
Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week that he would announce soon whether he will run for South Korea's presidency, as he returned home and strongly hinted at his political ambitions before hundreds of cheering supporters. Ban's return will likely heat up local politics as he's considered the only major conservative contender in a possible early election to replace impeached President Park Geun-hye.
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Yahoo News article
Designer wanted in bribery case arrested in Mexico, sent to U.S.
Yahoo News - 2 months
A New York fashion designer who calls himself the "curator of cool" was arrested in Mexico and sent to the United States where he is charged as part of a bribery case that has ensnared relatives of former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, officials said on Saturday. Malcolm Harris, a self-described arts and fashion consultant and blogger, was indicted in New York along with two of Ban's relatives on Tuesday. "The couple was detained in a joint operation between Mexican federal authorities and authorities of the United States, and at this time is in his country of origin," the statement said.
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Yahoo News article
7 Years After Haiti's Earthquake, Millions Still Need Aid
Huffington Post - 2 months
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); On Jan. 12, 2010, a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti, claiming up to 316,000 lives and displacing more than 1.5 million people. Today ― seven years later ― 2.5 million Haitians are still in need of humanitarian aid, according to a new report from the United Nations. The quake tore a catastrophic path of destruction through the ailing island nation, leaving Haitians with a herculean recovery mission. In the years that followed, a string of devastating natural d ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ban Ki-moon
  • 2016
    Age 71
    He is the leading potential candidate for the South Korean president in 2017, leading most of major polls in Korea as of September 2016.
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    On 30 August 2016, he was conferred the Honorary Doctor of Letters by National University of Singapore for his lifetime of service to humanity.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to his native Korean, Ban speaks English and French. According to a retired UN official, "one of Ban's biggest handicaps was his lack of fluency in English, which made it difficult for him to win over audiences in the US and elsewhere." Also there have been questions, however, regarding the extent of his knowledge of French, one of the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat.
    In preparation for the summit, Ban released a report on 9 February 2016 titled ‘One Humanity, Shared Responsibility’ in which he laid out an “Agenda for Humanity” based on consultations with more than 23,000 people in 153 countries.
    More Details Hide Details The Agenda for Humanity outlines what is needed to reform humanitarian action, including political leadership to prevent and end conflict, new forms of financing, and a shift from providing aid to ending need. The summit is scheduled to include 5,000 participants, including representatives from governments, NGOs, civil society organizations, and the private sector, as well as individuals affected by humanitarian crises. According to The Washington Post, "some UN employees and delegates" expressed resentment at Ban's perceived favoritism in the appointment of South Korean nationals in key posts. Previous UN chiefs such as Kurt Waldheim (Austria), Javier Pérez de Cuéllar (Peru) and Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt) brought small teams of trusted aides or clerical workers from their country's Foreign Ministry. But according to "some officials" in the Post story, Ban has gone further, boosting South Korea's presence in UN ranks by more than 20 percent during his first year in office. In response, Ban and his aides have claimed that allegations of favoritism are wrong, and that some of the harshest criticisms against him have undercurrents of racism. He said that the South Korean nationals he had appointed—including Choi Young-jin, who has served as a high-ranking official in the United Nations' peacekeeping department—are highly qualified for their positions. Others such as Donald P. Gregg, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, say the complaints are driven by envy, "I think being from South Korea, and people have growing respect for South Korea, that's a great enhancement for the secretary general.
    On June 26, 2016, during a speech in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Ban said Russia "has a critical role to play" in addressing global issues "from ending the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, to safeguarding human rights and controlling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
    More Details Hide Details His comments were condemned by Ukraine's UN envoy Volodymyr Yelchenko, saying that he doesn't understand how the UN chief "can say such things which sort of praise the role of Russia in settling the conflict in Ukraine when the Russian Federation is the main player in aggressing Ukraine and in keeping this conflict boiling." He also noted that Russia is being accused of human rights abuses in Crimea and is "building up the nuclear potential" on the peninsula. On 7 March 2012 Ban delivered a speech titled "The Time Has Come" to the United Nations Human Rights Council urging the Council to place greater emphasis on combating homophobia and promoting LGBT rights around the world. The speech was met by a protest by a group of delegates, who organized a walk-out protest during the speech. During a speech at the UN headquarters commemorating Human Rights Day, Ban condemned countries with anti-gay laws, mentioning 76 countries that criminalize homosexuality. He said:
    Ban has criticized Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, saying: "Grave violations against children increased dramatically as a result of the escalating conflict". In June 2016, Ban Ki-moon removed a Saudi-led coalition from a list of children's rights violators.
    More Details Hide Details He later admitted that Saudi Arabia threatened to cut Palestinian aid and funds to other UN programs if coalition was not removed from blacklist for killing children in Yemen. According to one source, there was also a threat of "clerics in Riyadh meeting to issue a fatwa against the UN, declaring it anti-Muslim, which would mean no contacts of OIC members, no relations, contributions, support, to any UN projects, programs".
    Much press coverage of Ban has been critical, with The Economist, in May 2016, calling him "plodding, protocol-conscious and loth to stand up to the big powers" and "the dullest—and among the worst" secretary-generals.
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    On 26 January 2016, Ban made a statement in relation to the attacks by Palestinians against Israelis.
    More Details Hide Details Ban Ki-moon said that "as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism". In rebuking Ban's statement, the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu stated that "there is no justification for terror".
  • 2013
    Age 68
    On 16 August 2013, Ban Ki-moon admitted that the UN was biased against Israel, stating in a meeting with Israeli students that there was a biased attitude towards the Israeli people and Israeli government at the UN.
    More Details Hide Details He described this as "an unfortunate situation." A few days later, he backtracked on the utterance.
  • 2012
    Age 67
    On 30 August 2012 Ban criticized the Iranian leadership due to their statements regarding Israel's destruction and denying the Holocaust.
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    Throughout 2012, Ban expressed his concern about the continuing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, in particular the condition of the Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons and the movement restrictions imposed on Gaza Strip residents.
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    The aftermath of the Libyan Civil War and other events of the Arab Spring continued to commanded Ban's attention with the start of his second term. He focused in 2012 on what he termed "intolerance" in the Arab world.
    More Details Hide Details After traveling to Vienna to participate in the opening of the KAICIID Dialogue Centre to foster interreligious dialogue, Ban commented, "Many countries in the Arab world including Saudi Arabia are changing. Since the Arab Spring, the leaders have begun to listen to the voice of their people." He was however criticised in the Austrian press for associating himself with a project of Saudi King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia being a location of perceived religious intolerance.
    Ban appointed Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson as his new Deputy Secretary-General on 2 March 2012.
    More Details Hide Details His Chief of Staff is Edmond Mulet of Guatemala. The appointments were part of Ban's commitment to replace top positions in his group for his second term. Since beginning his second term in January 2012, Ban has focused his public statements and speeches on peace and equality in the Middle East and on equality issues.
    His new five-year term as Secretary-General commenced on 1 January 2012 and will end on 31 December 2016.
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  • 2011
    Age 66
    On 17 June 2011, he received the recommendation of the Security Council by a unanimous vote, and, on 21 June, his nomination was confirmed by a unanimous acclamation vote at the United Nations General Assembly.
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    Ban Ki-moon's first mandate as the Secretary-General was set to end on 31 December 2011.
    More Details Hide Details The five permanent Security Council members supported his candidacy. There was no declared rival for the post.
    On 6 June 2011, Ban Ki-moon formally announced his candidacy for a second consecutive term as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
    More Details Hide Details He announced his candidacy at a press conference, following a meeting with the Asian group of countries at the United Nations.
  • 2010
    Age 65
    Former UN Under Secretary General for Oversight Services Inga-Britt Ahlenius denounced Ban Ki-moon after resigning her post in 2010, calling him reprehensible.
    More Details Hide Details Ahlenius's critique was based on the grounds that the Secretary-General consistently made efforts to undermine the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) mandate and challenge its operational independence. In particular, the two disputed Ahlenius's plans to hire a former prosecutor, Robert Appleton, who had carried out aggressive investigations into corruption in UN peacekeeping missions from 2006 to 2009. Ban's staff explained that Appleton's appointment was rejected because female candidates had not been properly considered, and said that the final selection should have been made by Ban, not Ahlenius. However, Ahlenius countered in her End of Assignment memo that "for the Secretary-General to control appointments in OIOS is an infringement of the operational independence of OIOS", and further stated, "There is no transparency, there is lack of accountability. Rather than supporting the internal oversight which is the sign of strong leadership and good governance, you have strived to undermine its position and to control it. I do not see any signs of reform in the Organization."
  • 2009
    Age 64
    Although the 2009 Iranian presidential election was widely disputed, Ban Ki-moon sent a traditional congratulation message to the Iranian president upon his inauguration.
    More Details Hide Details He kept silent over the request of Shirin Ebadi to visit Iran after the crackdown on peaceful post-election protests by the Iranian police, which was perceived as a crime against humanity. More than 4,000 people were arrested and nearly 70 were killed, some while being held in prison. In another incident, several prominent intellectuals including Akbar Ganji, Hamid Dabashi, Noam Chomsky went on a three-day hunger strike in front of the UN. The incident was followed by an official request by more than 200 intellectuals, human rights activists and reformist politicians in Iran for the UN reaction. Ban Ki-moon however did not take any action to stop the violence in Iran. The Libyan Civil War began in 2011, the last year of Ban's first term, and dominated his attention and public statements that year. Throughout the conflict, he lobbied for peaceful solutions to the crisis. He frequently spoke out against military action in Libya, believing that a diplomatic solution would be possible and preferable. However, he conceded that if then leader Muammar Gaddafi refused to abide by a cease fire agreement, the international coalition of military forces would have no choice but to intervene to protect the human rights of Libyans. The Gaddafi government was eventually overthrown and Gaddafi killed in the conflict.
  • 2008
    Age 63
    Ban toured the devastation—especially in the hard-hit Irrawaddy Delta—23 May 2008 and 24 May 2008.
    More Details Hide Details Myanmar officials agreed to allow the Yangon International Airport to be used as a logistical hub for aid distribution.
    The conference was initiated after Ban had met with Than Shwe, the leading figure of Myanmar's government 23 May 2008.
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    Ban Ki-moon flew to Myanmar on 25 May 2008 to guide a conference with international agencies aimed at boosting donations for the nation, which was struck by Cyclone Nargis on 2 May 2008.
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  • 2007
    Age 62
    Ban took the first foreign trip of his term to attend the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2007 as part of an effort to reach out to the Group of 77.
    More Details Hide Details He repeatedly identified Darfur as the top humanitarian priority of his administration. Ban played a large role, with several face-to-face meetings with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in convincing Sudan to allow UN peacekeepers to enter the Darfur region. On 31 July 2007 the United Nations Security Council approved sending 26,000 UN peacekeepers into the region to join 7,000 troops from the African Union. The resolution was heralded as a major breakthrough in confronting the Darfur conflict (although the United States labeled the conflict a "genocide", the United Nations has declined to do so). The first phase of the peacekeeping mission began in October 2007.
    On Thursday, 22 March 2007, while Ban was taking part in the first stop of a tour of the Middle East, a mortar attack hit just from where the Secretary-General was standing, interrupting a press conference in Baghdad's Green Zone, and visibly shaking Ban and others. No one was hurt in the incident. The United Nations had already limited its role in Iraq after its Baghdad headquarters was bombed in August 2003, killing 22 people.
    More Details Hide Details Ban said, however, that he still hoped to find a way for the United Nations to "do more for Iraqi social and political development". On his trip, Ban visited Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, where Ban attended a conference with leaders of the Arab League and met for several hours with Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese president who had resisted UN peacekeepers in Darfur. While Ban met with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, he declined to meet with Ismail Haniya of Hamas. Ban Ki-moon criticized Israel on 10 March 2008 for planning to build housing units in a West Bank settlement, saying the decision conflicts with "Israel's obligation under the road map" for Middle East peace. During a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, 7 January 2009, Ban called for an immediate end to fighting in the Gaza Strip. He criticized both sides, Israel for bombarding Gaza and Hamas for firing rockets into Israel.
    On 1 March 2007 in a speech before the UN General Assembly, Ban emphasized his concerns about global warming.
    More Details Hide Details Ban stated, "For my generation, coming of age at the height of the Cold War, fear of nuclear winter seemed the leading existential threat on the horizon. But the danger posed by war to all humanity—and to our planet—is at least matched by climate change" (referring to Global Warming, see P:GW portal). On 3 September 2009 he further emphasized his concerns at the World Climate Conference in Geneva, when he stated, "Our foot is stuck on the accelerator and we are heading towards an abyss". In September, 2014, Ban joined demonstrators in the People's Climate March in New York City, and also called together world leaders for the UN Climate Summit, in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris in late 2015.
    On 19 July 2007, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian wrote to request admission into the UN by the name Taiwan.
    More Details Hide Details Ban rejected the request, inaccurately stating that Resolution 2758 defined Taiwan as part of China. Ban early on identified global warming as one of the key issues of his administration. In a White House meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush in January, Ban urged Bush to take steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
    Ban's proposal to split the peacekeeping operation into one group handling operations and another handling arms was finally adopted in mid-March 2007.
    More Details Hide Details The Secretary-General of the United Nations has the ability to influence debate on nearly any global issue. Although unsuccessful in some areas, Ban's predecessor Annan had been successful in increasing the UN peacekeeping presence and in popularizing the Millennium Development Goals. UN observers were eager to see on which issues Ban intended to focus, in addition to his declared interest in reforming the United Nations bureaucracy. On several prominent issues, such as proliferation in Iran and North Korea, Ban has deferred to the Security Council. In 2007, the Republic of Nauru raised the issue of allowing the Republic of China (Taiwan) to sign the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Ban referenced the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, and refused the motion.
    On the broader issue, he told a Washington, D.C. audience on 16 January 2007 that he recognized and encouraged the "growing trend in international society, international law and domestic policies and practices to phase out eventually the death penalty".
    More Details Hide Details On the tenth anniversary of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's death, 15 April 2008, Ban Ki-moon appealed for the senior leaders of the regime to be brought to justice. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia-tribunal, which was established by both the United Nations and Cambodia and which became operational in 2006, is expected to continue until at least 2010. Ban has received strong criticism from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which stated that the secretariat under Ban's leadership was "drifting into irrelevance". In early January, Ban appointed the key members of his cabinet. As his Deputy Secretary-General, he selected Tanzanian foreign minister and professor Asha-Rose Migiro, a move that pleased African diplomats who had concerns of losing power without Annan in office. The top position devoted exclusively to management, Under-Secretary-General for Management, was filled by Alicia Bárcena Ibarra of Mexico. Bárcena was considered a UN insider, having previously served as Annan's chief of staff. Her appointment was seen by critics as an indication that Ban would not make dramatic changes to UN bureaucracy. Ban appointed Sir John Holmes, the British Ambassador to France, as Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and coordinator of emergency relief.
    At his first encounter with the press as Secretary-General on 2 January 2007, he refused to condemn the death penalty imposed on Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi High Tribunal, remarking, "The issue of capital punishment is for each and every member State to decide".
    More Details Hide Details Ban's statements contradicted long-standing United Nations opposition to the death penalty as a human-rights concern. He quickly clarified his stance in the case of Barzan al-Tikriti and Awad al-Bandar, two top officials who were convicted of the deaths of 148 Shia Muslims in the Iraqi village of Dujail in the 1980s. In a statement through his spokesperson on 6 January, he "strongly urged the Government of Iraq to grant a stay of execution to those whose death sentences may be carried out in the near future".
    On 23 January 2007 Ban took office as the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations.
    More Details Hide Details Ban's term as Secretary-General opened with a flap.
    When Ban became Secretary-General, The Economist listed the major challenges facing him in 2007: "rising nuclear demons in Iran and North Korea, a haemorrhaging wound in Darfur, unending violence in the Middle East, looming environmental disaster, escalating international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the spread of HIV/AIDS.
    More Details Hide Details And then the more parochial concerns, such as the largely unfinished business of the most sweeping attempt at reform in the UN's history". Before starting, Kofi Annan shared the story that when the first Secretary-General Trygve Lie left office, he told his successor, Dag Hammarskjöld, "You are about to take over the most impossible job on earth".
  • 2006
    Age 61
    On 13 October 2006, he was elected to be the eighth Secretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly.
    More Details Hide Details On 1 January 2007, he succeeded Kofi Annan. As Secretary-General, he was responsible for several major reforms on peacekeeping and UN employment practices. Diplomatically, Ban has taken particularly strong views on global warming, pressing the issue repeatedly with U.S. President George W. Bush, and on the Darfur conflict, where he helped persuade Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to allow peacekeeping troops to enter Sudan. Ban was named the world's 32nd most powerful person by the Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People in 2013, the highest among South Koreans. In 2014, he was named the third most powerful South Korean after Lee Kun-hee and Lee Jae-yong.
    In an interview on 17 September 2006 he stated: "As front-runner, I know that I can become a target of this very scrutinizing process", and that he was "a man of integrity".
    More Details Hide Details In the final informal poll on 2 October, Ban received fourteen favorable votes and one abstention ("no opinion") from the fifteen members of the Security Council. The one abstention came from the Japanese delegation, who vehemently opposed the idea of a Korean taking the role of Secretary-General. Due to the overwhelming support of Ban by the rest of the Security Council, Japan later voted in favor of Ban to avoid controversy. More importantly, Ban was the only one to escape a veto; each of the other candidates received at least one "no" vote from among the five permanent members. After the vote, Shashi Tharoor, who finished second, withdrew his candidacy and China's Permanent Representative to the UN told reporters that "it is quite clear from today's straw poll that Minister Ban Ki-moon is the candidate that the Security Council will recommend to the General Assembly".
    In February 2006, Ban declared his candidacy to replace Kofi Annan as UN Secretary-General at the end of 2006, becoming the first South Korean to run for the office.
    More Details Hide Details Though Ban was the first to announce a candidacy, he was not originally considered a serious contender. Over the next eight months, Ban made ministerial visits to each of the 15 countries with a seat on the Security Council. Of the seven candidates, he topped each of the four straw polls conducted by the United Nations Security Council: on 24 July, 14 September, 28 September, and 2 October. During the period in which these polls took place, Ban made major speeches to the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. To be confirmed, Ban needed not only to win the support of the diplomatic community, but also to be able to avoid a veto from any of the five permanent members of the council: People's Republic of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Ban was popular in Washington for having pushed to send South Korean troops to Iraq, and had the support of the Bush administration as he pursued the position. But Ban also opposed several U.S. positions: he expressed his support for the International Criminal Court and favoured an entirely non-confrontational approach to dealing with North Korea. Ban said during his campaign that he would like to visit North Korea in person to meet with Kim Jong-il directly. Ban was viewed as a stark contrast from Kofi Annan, who was considered charismatic, but perceived as a weak manager because of problems surrounding the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq.
    In February 2006 he began to campaign for the office of Secretary-General.
    More Details Hide Details Ban was initially considered to be a long shot for the office. As foreign minister of South Korea, however, he was able to travel to all the countries on the United Nations Security Council, a maneuver that turned him into the campaign's front runner.
  • 2005
    Age 60
    In September 2005, as foreign minister, he played a leading role in the diplomatic efforts to adopt the Joint Statement on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue at the Fourth Round of the Six-party talks held in Beijing.
    More Details Hide Details As foreign minister, Ban oversaw the trade and aid policies of South Korea. This work put Ban in the position of signing trade deals and delivering foreign assistance to diplomats who would later be influential in his candidacy for Secretary-General. For example, Ban became the first senior South Korean minister to travel to the Republic of the Congo since its independence in 1960.
  • 2004
    Age 59
    At the beginning of his term, Ban was faced with two major crises: in June 2004 Kim Sun-il, a South Korean working as an Arabic translator, was kidnapped and killed in Iraq by Islamic extremists; and in December 2004 dozens of Koreans died in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
    More Details Hide Details Ban survived scrutiny from lawmakers and saw an upturn in his popularity when talks began with North Korea. Ban became actively involved in issues relating to North-South Korean relationships.
    In 2004, Ban replaced Yoon Young-kwan as foreign minister of South Korea under president Roh Moo-hyun.
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  • 2003
    Age 58
    In 2003, incoming president Roh Moo-hyun selected Ban as one of his foreign policy advisors.
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  • 2001
    Age 56
    Ban was unemployed for the only time in his career and was expecting to receive an assignment to work in a remote and unimportant embassy. In 2001, during the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, South Korea held the rotating presidency, and to Ban's surprise, he was selected to be the chief of staff to general assembly president Han Seung-soo.
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    During the negotiations, in what Ban considers the biggest blunder of his career, he included in a public letter a positive statement about the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001, not long after the United States had decided to abandon the treaty.
    More Details Hide Details To avoid anger from the United States, Ban was fired by President Kim Dae-jung, who also issued a public apology for Ban's statement.
  • 1998
    Age 53
    Ban was appointed Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia in 1998, and a year later he was also elected as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom).
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  • 1995
    Age 50
    He was promoted to the position of Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations in 1995 and then appointed National Security Advisor to the President in 1996.
    More Details Hide Details Ban's lengthy career overseas has been credited with helping him avoid South Korea's unforgiving political environment.
  • 1993
    Age 48
    From 1993 to 1994 Ban was Korea's deputy ambassador to the United States.
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  • 1992
    Age 47
    In 1992, he became Vice Chairman of the South-North Joint Nuclear Control Commission, following the adoption by South and North Korea of the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
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  • 1990
    Age 45
    He has been posted twice to the South Korean embassy in Washington, D.C. Between these two assignments he served as Director-General for American Affairs in 1990–92.
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  • 1980
    Age 35
    In 1980 Ban became director of the United Nations' International Organizations and Treaties Bureau, headquartered in Seoul.
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  • 1979
    Age 34
    After Park Chung-hee's 1979 assassination, Ban assumed the post of Director of the United Nations Division.
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  • 1974
    Age 29
    In 1974 he received his first posting to the United Nations, as First Secretary of the South Permanent Observer Mission (South Korea became a full UN member-state on 17 September 1991).
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  • 1971
    Age 26
    Ban Ki-moon married Yoo Soon-taek in 1971.
    More Details Hide Details They have three adult children: two daughters and a son. His elder daughter, Seon-yong, was born in 1972 and now works for the Korea Foundation in Seoul. Her spouse is a native of India. His son Woo-hyun was born in 1974 in India. He received an MBA from Anderson School of Management at University of California, Los Angeles, and works for an investment firm in New York. His younger daughter, Hyun-hee (born 1976), is a field officer for UNICEF in Nairobi. After his election as Secretary-General, Ban became an icon in his hometown, where his extended family still resides. Over 50,000 gathered in a soccer stadium in Chungju for celebration of the result. In the months following his election, thousands of practitioners of geomancy went to his village to determine how it produced such an important person. Ban himself is not a member of any church or religious group and has declined to expound his beliefs: "Now, as Secretary-General, it will not be appropriate at this time to talk about my own belief in any particular religion or god. So maybe we will have some other time to talk about personal matters." His mother is Buddhist.
  • 1970
    Age 25
    After graduating from university, Ban received the top score on Korea's foreign service exam. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 1970 and worked his way up the career ladder during the years of the Yusin Constitution.
    More Details Hide Details Ban's first overseas posting was to New Delhi, India, where he served as vice consul and impressed many of his superiors in the foreign ministry with his competence. Ban reportedly accepted a posting to India rather than the United States, because in India he would be able to save more money to send to his family.
    He received a bachelor's degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970, and earned a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1985.
    More Details Hide Details At Harvard, he studied under Joseph Nye, who remarked that Ban had "a rare combination of analytic clarity, humility and perseverance". Ban was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) by the University of Malta on 22 April 2009. He further received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Washington in October 2009, an honorary degree of Doctor of Law from the University of Cambridge in February 2016, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Loyola Marymount University in April 2016.
  • 1962
    Age 17
    In secondary school (Chungju High School), Ban became a star student, particularly in his studies of the English language. In 1962, Ban won an essay contest sponsored by the Red Cross and earned a trip to the United States where he lived in San Francisco with a host family for several months.
    More Details Hide Details As part of the trip, Ban met U.S. President John F. Kennedy. When a journalist at the meeting asked Ban what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said, "I want to become a diplomat."
  • 1949
    Age 4
    The United Nations champions the right to collective bargaining as a basic human right in its own charter, enacted as the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949; Article 1. International human rights organizations are critical of Ban Ki-moon for lacking accountability over negligent actions by the United Nations. Scientists and journalists conclusively proved that UN peacekeepers from Nepal were the source of the 2010–13 Haiti cholera outbreak, which has killed approximately 9,000 people and infected more than 1 in 20 Haitians.
    More Details Hide Details Ban has declared that the legal immunity of the United Nations before national courts should be upheld, though this does not reduce the UN's moral responsibility to overcoming Haiti's cholera epidemic. Ban is named in a lawsuit challenging UN immunity on behalf of Haitian cholera victims in the U.S. District Court of Manhattan. In January 2015, Judge J. Paul Oetken dismissed the case, affirming UN immunity. An appeal to Oetken's decision was submitted to the Court in May 2015.
  • 1944
    Ban was born on 13 June 1944 in the small farming village of Haengchi, Wonnam Township (-myeon), in Eumseong County, North Chungcheong Province in Korea.
    More Details Hide Details His family then moved to the nearby town of Chungju, where he grew up. During Ban's childhood, his father had a warehouse business, but the warehouse went bankrupt and the family lost its middle-class standard of living. When Ban was six, his family fled to a remote mountainside for much of the Korean War. After the war ended, his family returned to Chungju. Ban has said that, during this time, he met American soldiers.
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