Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon

biographical name

(born June 13, 1944, Umsong, Japanese-occupied Korea [now in S.Kor.]) South Korean diplomat and politician who became the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) in 2007. He received a B.A. (1970) from Seoul National University and an M.A. (1985) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. After entering South Korea's foreign service in 1970, he held a number of posts, including national security adviser to the president (1996–98) and minister of foreign affairs and trade (2004–06). His UN experience began in 1975 when he became a staff member of the UN division of the Foreign Ministry in Seoul. He later led the cabinet of the president of the UN General Assembly during South Korea's tenure of the rotating presidency in 2001–02, the critical period following the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001 (see September 11 attacks). Ban succeeded Kofi Annan on Jan. 1, 2007, becoming the first Asian to serve as UN secretary-general since Burmese statesman U Thant held the office (1962–71). Ban faced a number of challenges, including the North Korean and Iranian nuclear threats, the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of The Sudan, and reform of the UN.

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