101 Facts About Ban Ki-moon


Ban Ki-moon was the foreign minister of South Korea between 2004 and 2006.

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Ban Ki-moon was initially considered to be a long shot for the office of Secretary-General of the United Nations however, he began to campaign for the office in February 2006.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon was widely considered to be a potential candidate for the 2017 South Korean presidential election, before announcing, on 1 February, that he would not be running.

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On 14 September 2017, Ban Ki-moon was elected chair of the International Olympic Committee's Ethics Commission.

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Ban Ki-moon currently serves as the Distinguished Chair Professor at Yonsei University's Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment.

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Ban Ki-moon currently serves as co-chair for the Global Center on Adaptation, which is taking forward the commission's work through its programs.

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Ban Ki-moon became the first major international diplomat to throw his weight behind the Green New Deal, a nascent effort by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in the United States to zero out planet-warming emissions and end poverty over the next decade.

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Ban Ki-moon was born on 13 June 1944 in the small farming village of Haengchi, Wonnam Township, in Eumseong County, North Chungcheong Province in what was then Japanese Korea.

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When Ban Ki-moon was six, his family fled to a remote mountainside for much of the Korean War.

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Ban Ki-moon has said that, during this time, he met American soldiers.

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In secondary school, Ban Ki-moon became a star student, particularly in his studies of the English language.

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In 1962, Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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At Harvard, he studied under Joseph Nye, who remarked that Ban Ki-moon had "a rare combination of analytic clarity, humility and perseverance".

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Ban Ki-moon was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Malta on 22 April 2009.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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In November 2019, Ban Ki-moon received an Honorary Doctorate in Global Peace and Sustainable Development from the National University of Malaysia.

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Ban Ki-moon joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 1970 and worked his way up the career ladder during the years of the Yusin Constitution.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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In 1980, Ban Ki-moon became director of the United Nations' International Organizations and Treaties Bureau, headquartered in Seoul.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon was appointed Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia in 1998, and a year later he was elected as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Ki-moon Treaty Organization .

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Ban Ki-moon was unemployed for the only time in his career and was expecting to receive an assignment to work in a remote and unimportant embassy.

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In 2004, Ban Ki-moon replaced the resigning Yoon Young-kwan as foreign minister of South Korea under president Roh Moo-hyun.

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At the beginning of his term, Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon survived scrutiny from lawmakers and saw an upturn in his popularity when talks began with North Korea.

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Ban Ki-moon became actively involved in issues relating to North-South Korean relationships.

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For example, Ban Ki-moon became the first senior South Korean minister to travel to the Republic of the Congo since its independence in 1960.

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In February 2006, Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon said during his campaign that he would like to visit North Korea in person to meet with Kim Jong-il directly.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly acknowledged his limitations at French, but assured French diplomats that he was devoted to continuing his study.

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On 23 January 2007 Ban Ki-moon took office as the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations.

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Ban Ki-moon's statements contradicted long-standing United Nations opposition to the death penalty as a human-rights concern.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon has received strong criticism from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, which stated that the secretariat under Ban Ki-moon's leadership was "drifting into irrelevance".

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Ban Ki-moon appointed Sir John Holmes, the British Ambassador to France, as Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and coordinator of emergency relief.

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Ban Ki-moon initially said that he would delay making other appointments until his first round of reforms were approved, yet later abandoned this idea after receiving criticism.

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Appointment of many women to top jobs was seen as fulfilling a campaign promise Ban Ki-moon had made to increase the role of women in the United Nations.

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Ban Ki-moon's proposals were met with stiff resistance from members of the UN General Assembly who bristled under Ban's request for rapid approval.

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The proposed merger of the disarmament and political affairs offices was criticized by many in the developing world, partially because of rumours that Ban hoped to place American B Lynn Pascoe in charge of the new office.

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Ban Ki-moon nevertheless pressed ahead with reforms on job requirements at the UN requiring that all positions be considered five-year appointments, all receive strict annual performance reviews, and all financial disclosures be made public.

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UN observers were eager to see on which issues Ban Ki-moon intended to focus, in addition to his declared interest in reforming the United Nations bureaucracy.

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Ban Ki-moon referenced the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, and refused the motion.

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Ban Ki-moon rejected the request, stating that Resolution 2758 defined Taiwan as part of China.

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In September 2014, Ban Ki-moon joined demonstrators in the People's Climate March in New York City, and 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.

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On Thursday, 22 March 2007, while Ban Ki-moon was taking part in the first stop of a tour of the Middle East, a mortar attack hit just 80 meters from where the Secretary-General was standing, interrupting a press conference in Baghdad's Green Zone, and visibly shaking Ban Ki-moon and others.

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Ban Ki-moon said that he still hoped to find a way for the United Nations to "do more for Iraqi social and political development".

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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.

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Ban Ki-moon criticized both sides, Israel for bombarding Gaza and Hamas for firing rockets into Israel.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon however did not take any action to stop the violence in Iran.

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Ban Ki-moon frequently spoke out against military action in Libya, believing that a diplomatic solution would be possible and preferable.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon repeatedly identified Darfur as the top humanitarian priority of his administration.

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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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The conference was initiated after Ban Ki-moon had met with Than Shwe, the leading figure of Myanmar's government 23 May 2008.

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Ban Ki-moon toured the devastation—especially in the hard-hit Irrawaddy Delta—23 May 2008 and 24 May 2008.

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On 6 June 2011, Ban Ki-moon formally announced his candidacy for a second consecutive term as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

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Ban Ki-moon announced his candidacy at a press conference, following a meeting with the Asian group of countries at the United Nations.

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Ban Ki-moon appointed Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson as his new Deputy Secretary-General on 2 March 2012.

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Since beginning his second term in January 2012, Ban Ki-moon has focused his public statements and speeches on peace and equality in the Middle East and on equality issues.

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Ban Ki-moon focused in 2012 on what he termed "intolerance" in the Arab world.

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On 30 August 2012 Ban Ki-moon criticized the Iranian leadership due to their statements regarding Israel's destruction and denying the Holocaust.

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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.

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On 26 January 2016, Ban Ki-moon made a statement in relation to the attacks by Palestinians against Israelis.

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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".

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Ban Ki-moon has criticized Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, saying: "Grave violations against children increased dramatically as a result of the escalating conflict".

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In June 2016, Ban Ki-moon removed a Saudi-led coalition from a list of children's rights violators.

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Ban Ki-moon 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.

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On 7 March 2012 Ban Ki-moon 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.

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Ban Ki-moon has told senior managers that homophobia will not be tolerated.

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Ban Ki-moon pointed to countries such as Ukraine which has proposed criminalizing public discussion about homosexuality as threatening basic human rights.

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Ban Ki-moon further stated that government has a duty to defend vulnerable minorities.

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Ban Ki-moon said that religion, culture or tradition can never justify denial of basic rights.

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Ban Ki-moon has been organizing and moderating the Geneva II Conference on Syria.

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Nonetheless, according to "some officials" in the Post story, Ban Ki-moon had allegedly gone further, boosting South Korea's presence in UN ranks by more than 20 percent during his first year in office.

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Ban Ki-moon said that the South Korean nationals he had appointed—including Choi Young-jin, who had already served as a high-ranking official in the United Nations' peacekeeping department—are highly qualified for their positions.

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Former UN Under Secretary General for Oversight Services Inga-Britt Ahlenius denounced Ban Ki-moon after resigning her post in 2010, calling him "reprehensible".

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Ban Ki-moon's staff explained that Appleton's appointment was rejected because Ahlenius had not properly considered female candidates for the appointment, and said that the final selection should have been made by Ban Ki-moon, not Ahlenius.

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Nambiar further noted that Ban Ki-moon "fully recognizes the operational independence of OIOS, [but that] does not excuse [Ahlenius] from applying the standard rules of recruitment".

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American diplomat James Wasserstrom claimed that Ban Ki-moon attempted to limit the jurisdiction of the UN dispute tribunal following Wasserstrom's dismissal from his Kosovo post and lengthy appeals process.

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Ban Ki-moon had refused to hand over confidential documents relating to the case to the UN personnel tribunal, despite repeated orders by the court to do so.

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In relation to another case, Ban Ki-moon was admonished by Judge Michael Adams for "willful disobedience" for again refusing to hand over key documents in an internal promotions dispute.

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In 2013, Ban Ki-moon was accused of undermining collective bargaining rights of The Staff Coordinating Council, the union representing United Nations staff.

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Ban Ki-moon unilaterally eliminated the role of the union to negotiate on behalf of the employees and terminated talks when the union protested.

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Ban Ki-moon declared that the legal immunity of the United Nations before national courts should be upheld, but that this does not reduce the UN's moral responsibility to overcome Haiti's cholera epidemic.

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Until the outbreak of the 2016 South Korean political scandal, Ban Ki-moon was the leading potential candidate for President of South Korea in 2017.

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Kim Jong-pil, former Prime Minister of South Korea, was reported to say that Ban Ki-moon would announce his candidacy for the presidency shortly after his term as Secretary-General ends.

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Ban Ki-moon was originally predicted to run under the conservative Saenuri Party, but President Park Geun-hye's scandal cast doubts as to which party Ban Ki-moon would run under.

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In June 2017, Ban Ki-moon joined The Elders, a human rights group composed of international statesmen that was founded by Nelson Mandela.

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In early 2018, Ban Ki-moon was elected to lead the Global Green Growth Institute, a treaty-based intergovernmental organization.

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In 2020, Ban Ki-Moon was appointed as the Official Ambassador of the GEMS World Academy Model United Nations.

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Ban Ki-moon met Yoo Soon-taek in 1962 when they were both in high school.

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Ban Ki-moon was 18 years old, and Yoo Soon-taek was his secondary school's student council president.

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Ban Ki-moon's elder daughter, Seon-yong, was born in 1972 and now works for the Korea Foundation in Seoul.

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Ban Ki-moon's son Woo-hyun was born in 1974 in India.

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Ban Ki-moon received an MBA from Anderson School of Management at University of California, Los Angeles, and works for an investment firm in New York.

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Ban Ki-moon's younger daughter, Hyun-hee was born on 1976, and is a field officer for UNICEF in Nairobi.

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