Ban Ki-moon is the Secretary-General of the United Nations as of 2014. He came into office Jan. 1, 2007, and he started his second term after being unanimously reelected on June 27, 2011. His present term will end on December 31, 2016.Continue Reading
Ban was born in North Chungcheong province in Japanese-controlled Korea on June 13, 1944. When the Korean War broke out when he was six years old, Ban and his family were forced to hide on a remote mountainside. "I grew up in war and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild," said Ban of his childhood.
Ban's family eventually returned to Chungcheong. In high school, Ban excelled at English, and he won a Red Cross essay contest that let him live in San Francisco for several months. He also met President John F. Kennedy during the trip, and when a journalist at the event asked Ban what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied that he wanted to become a diplomat.
Ban fulfilled his career goal. Before becoming secretary general, Ban served for 37 years with Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and eventually became Minister of Foreign Affairs and trade. As secretary general of the UN, Ban has since focused on advocating for women's rights, environmental protection and sustainable development, accountability for human rights violations, supporting countries recovering from natural disasters and making the UN more transparent and efficient.Learn more about Political Parties