|Height:||174 cm (5' 9'')|
|Birth Day:||June 13, 1944|
|Height:||174 cm (5' 9'')|
|Eye Color:||Light Brown|
|Hair Color:||Light Brown|
He met president John F. Kennedy after winning a high school essay contest that allowed him to visit the U.S.
Ban was born on 13 June 1944 in the small farming village of Haengchi, Wonnam Township (-myeon), in Eumseong County (Insei), North Chungcheong Province in what was then Japanese Korea. 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.
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.
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. 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."
Ban Ki-moon met Yoo Soon-taek in 1962 when they were both in high school. Ban was 18 years old, and Yoo Soon-taek was his secondary school's student council president. Ban Ki-moon married Yoo Soon-taek in 1971.
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. 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. On 30 August 2016, he was conferred the Honorary Doctor of Letters by National University of Singapore for his lifetime of service to humanity. In November 2019, Ki-moon received an Honorary Doctorate in Global Peace and Sustainable Development from the National University of Malaysia.
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.
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.
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. 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). After Park Chung-hee's 1979 assassination, Ban assumed the post of Director of the United Nations Division.
In 1980, Ban became director of the United Nations' International Organizations and Treaties Bureau, headquartered in Seoul. 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. 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. From 1993 to 1994 Ban was Korea's deputy ambassador to the United States. 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. Ban's lengthy career overseas has been credited with helping him avoid South Korea's unforgiving political environment.
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). 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. 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.
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. In 2003, incoming president Roh Moo-hyun selected Ban as one of his foreign policy advisors.
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 80 meters (260 ft) 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. Ban said, however, that he still hoped to find a way for the United Nations to "do more for Iraqi social and political development".
In 2004, Ban replaced Yoon Young-kwan as foreign minister of South Korea under president Roh Moo-hyun. 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. 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 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.
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. Though Ban was the first to announce a candidacy, he was not originally considered a serious contender.
As the Secretary-General election drew closer, there was rising criticism of the South Korean campaign on Ban's behalf. Specifically, his alleged practice of systematically visiting all member states of the Security Council in his role as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade to secure votes in his support by signing trade deals with European countries and pledging aid to developing countries were the focus of many news articles. According to The Washington Post, "rivals have privately grumbled that Republic of Korea, which has the world's 11th-largest economy, has wielded its economic might to generate support for his candidacy". Ban reportedly said that these insinuations were "groundless". 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".
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 struggled to win the approval of France. His official biography states that he speaks both English and French, the two working languages of the UN Secretariat. However, he has repeatedly struggled to answer questions in French from journalists. Ban has repeatedly acknowledged his limitations at French, but assured French diplomats that he was devoted to continuing his study. At a press conference on 11 January 2007, Ban remarked, "My French perhaps could be improved, and I am continuing to work. I have taken French lessons over the last few months. I think that, even if my French isn't perfect, I will continue to study it."
On 23 January 2007 Ban took office as the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. Ban's term as Secretary-General opened with a flap. 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". 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 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".
After the early bout of reproach, Ban began extensive consultation with UN ambassadors, agreeing to have his peacekeeping proposal extensively vetted. After the consultations, Ban dropped his proposal to combine political affairs and disarmament. Ban 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. Though unpopular in the New York office, the move was popular in other UN offices around the world and lauded by UN observers. Ban's proposal to split the peacekeeping operation into one group handling operations and another handling arms was finally adopted in mid-March 2007.
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 19 July 2007, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian wrote to request admission into the UN by the name Taiwan. Ban rejected the request, 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. On 1 March 2007 in a speech before the UN General Assembly, Ban emphasized his concerns about global warming. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. The conference was initiated after Ban had met with Than Shwe, the leading figure of Myanmar's government 23 May 2008. Ban toured the devastation—especially in the hard-hit Irrawaddy Delta—23 May 2008 and 24 May 2008. Myanmar officials agreed to allow the Yangon International Airport to be used as a logistical hub for aid distribution.
Although the 2009 Iranian presidential election was widely disputed, Ban Ki-moon sent a traditional congratulation message to the Iranian president upon his inauguration. 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 and 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.
Former UN Under Secretary General for Oversight Services Inga-Britt Ahlenius denounced Ban Ki-moon after resigning her post in 2010, calling him "reprehensible". Ahlenius claimed that the Secretary-General 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 investigations into corruption in UN peacekeeping missions from 2006 to 2009. Ban'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, not Ahlenius. Ahlenius claimed 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". Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar described Ahlenius's complaints as "a deeply unbalanced account", and also stated that "many pertinent facts were overlooked or misrepresented" in Ahlenius's memo. Nambiar further noted that Ban "fully recognizes the operational independence of OIOS, [but that] does not excuse [Ahlenius] from applying the standard rules of recruitment".
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.
On 6 June 2011, Ban Ki-moon formally announced his candidacy for a second consecutive term as Secretary-General of the United Nations. He announced his candidacy at a press conference, following a meeting with the Asian group of countries at the United Nations. Ban Ki-moon's first mandate as the Secretary-General was set to end on 31 December 2011. The five permanent Security Council members supported his candidacy. There was no declared rival for the post.
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. His new five-year term as Secretary-General commenced on 1 January 2012 and ended on 31 December 2016.
Ban appointed Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson as his new Deputy Secretary-General on 2 March 2012. 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.
The aftermath of the Libyan Civil War and other events of the Arab Spring continued to command Ban's attention with the start of his second term. He focused in 2012 on what he termed "intolerance" in the Arab world. After travelling 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.
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. On 30 August 2012 Ban criticized the Iranian leadership due to their statements regarding Israel's destruction and denying the Holocaust. 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. He described this as "an unfortunate situation." A few days later, he backtracked on the utterance. During an interview on 16 December 2016, Ban said that the UN has issued a "disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel."
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.
On 25 January 2012, Ban announced that he would convene the world's first summit on humanitarian aid in order to "share knowledge and establish common best practices." Known as the World Humanitarian Summit, the event took place in the 23–24 May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. 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. 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.
Ban has told senior managers that homophobia will not be tolerated. He pointed to countries such as Ukraine which has proposed criminalizing public discussion about homosexuality as threatening basic human rights. He further stated that government has a duty to defend vulnerable minorities. In April 2013, he described LGBT rights as one of the great neglected human rights of our time. He also said that religion, culture or tradition can never justify denial of basic rights.
In 2013, Ban was accused of undermining collective bargaining rights of The Staff Coordinating Council, the union representing United Nations staff. Ban unilaterally eliminated the role of the union to negotiate on behalf of the employees and terminated talks when the union protested.
Ban was named in a lawsuit challenging UN legal immunity on behalf of Haitian cholera victims in the U.S. District Court of Manhattan. UN peacekeepers from Nepal are said to be the source of the 2010–13 Haiti cholera outbreak. Ban 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. In January 2015, Judge J. Paul Oetken dismissed the lawsuit, affirming UN immunity. An appeal to Oetken's decision was submitted to the Court in May 2015.
On 26 January 2016, Ban made a statement in relation to the attacks by Palestinians against Israelis. 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".
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. 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".
On 26 June 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." 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.
British magazine The Economist, in May 2016, called Ban "plodding, protocol-conscious and loth to stand up to the big powers" and "the dullest—and among the worst" secretary-generals. Japanese diplomat Kiyotaka Akasaka defended Ban's understated presence as more quietly Confucian, stating that "[Ban's] behaviour has been like that of the wise man, the sage in Oriental philosophy". One UN official claimed that while Ban would greet world leaders in their native language, he would then read directly from his talking points without small talk. The UN official opined, "Quiet diplomacy? He [Ban] displayed no skills for that." South African lawyer Nicholas Haysom also defended Ban, saying that the news media "caricatured [Ban] as invisible when he made outspoken comments that the media then failed to report".
Until the outbreak of the 2016 South Korean political scandal, Ban was the leading potential candidate for President of South Korea in 2017. However, recent polls showed Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea in the lead with a support rating of 32.8 percent, while Ban trailed in distant second with 15.4 percent. Moon was eventually elected president on 10 May. Although Ban repeatedly expressed his desires for running, a UN resolution in 1946 says "a Secretary-General should refrain from accepting" any Governmental position "at any rate immediately on retirement." Exceptions to the rule have been made in past history with the 1986 election of Kurt Waldheim to the post of President of Austria, although the position is ceremonial in nature.
Ban returned to South Korea on 13 January 2017. On 1 February 2017 he announced he would not be a candidate for president.
In 2017, Ban and Heinz Fischer, former president of Austria, founded, and are co-chairs of, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, Austria. The nonprofit group's mission is to support youth and women, working within the UN's Sustainable Development Goal frameworks. In June 2017, Ban joined The Elders, a human rights group composed of international statesmen that was founded by Nelson Mandela. In November 2018, he became a Deputy Chair of the group, serving jointly with Graça Machel.
In 2017, he joined French President Emmanuel Macron in calling for a Global Pact for the Environment.
On 10 January 2017, Ban's brother Ban Ki-sang and nephew Bahn Joo-hyun have been indicted on U.S. charges that they engaged in a scheme to bribe a Middle Eastern official in connection with the attempted $800 million sale of a building complex in Vietnam. On 6 September 2018, Bahn Joo-hyun was sentenced to six months in prison in Manhattan federal court.
In early 2018, Ban was elected to lead the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), a treaty-based intergovernmental organization. Effective Feb. 20, 2018, he is serving a 2-year term in the dual roles of President of the Assembly and Chair of the Council.
In 2020, Ban Ki-Moon was appointed as the Official Ambassador of the GEMS World Academy Model United Nations.
Ban has three children with wife Yoo Soon-Taek; the couple married in 1971.
Currently, Ban Ki-Moon is 77 years, 11 months and 7 days old. Ban Ki-Moon will celebrate 78th birthday on a Monday 13th of June 2022. Below we countdown to Ban Ki-Moon upcoming birthday.
Birthdays today: Ban Ki Moon
Ban Ki Moon, UN secretary-general, 69; Dame Christine Beasley, chief nursing officer, Department of Health, 2004-12, 69; Kenenisa Bekele, athlete, 31; Kathy Burke, comic actress, 49; Mark Byford