The UN's New Leader
Who Is Ban Ki-moon?
"Global challenges call for global response," says next UN secretary-general

In 1962, Ban Ki-moon came to the White House and met President John F. Kennedy. Then, Ban was the 18-year-old winner of an English-language speech contest from rural South Korea. Today he is on the threshold of becoming the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations.

Ban says the visit to the White House inspired him to become a diplomat, and he pursued that training and career with vigor. He graduated from South Korea's Seoul National University Department of International Relations in 1970 and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1985. His 35 years of government and international service include time as South Korea's foreign minister and ambassador to the United States.

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This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.