Ban Ki-moonPolitical Figure
Born: 13 June 1944
Birthplace: Eumseong, Korea (now South Korea)
Best known as: 8th U.N. Secretary-General, 2007-
Ban Ki-moon became Secretary-General of the United Nations in January of 2007, succeeding Kofi Annan of Ghana. A career diplomat, Ban has a professional reputation as a calm and efficient consensus-builder. He graduated from Seoul University in 1970 and joined the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs the same year. Over the next 25 years he served in a variety of diplomatic posts inside and outside of Korea, including postings at embassies in India, America, and Austria. In 2001 he began work at the United Nations as the chief of staff to Han Seung-soo, the president of the General Assembly. Ban returned to Korea and was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2004 until 2006, when he was chosen to become the UN's next Secretary-General. His term began on 1 January 2007.
Extra credit: Ban is the second Asian to hold the post of Secretary-General. U Thant of Burma (now Myanmar) was the first, serving from 1961-71... Ban has a master's degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (1985)... Some sources say Ban was born in Chungju, the town near Eumseong where he was raised... Previous Secretaries-General of the UN: Trygve Lie (Norway), 1946-52; Dag Hammarskjöld (Sweden), 1953-61; U Thant (Myanmar, formerly Burma), 1961-71; Kurt Waldheim (Austria), 1972-81; Javier de Perez de Cuellar (Peru), 1982-91; Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt), 1992-96; Kofi Annan (1997-2006).
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