You don’t have to know much about Politics or International Relations to have heard about Ban Ki-moon. The former Secretary-General of the United Nations has become a great symbol in the fight for gender equality while also trying to help save the planet from climate change.
So, if you would like to know more about this fascinating international leader, then continue reading and discover all these interesting facts about Ban Ki-moon.
Ban Ki-moon Interesting Facts
1. Ban Ki-moon’s childhood dreams were to live in a safe country
The former United Nations’ Secretary-General was born on June 13, 1944, in what is now South Korea. However, back then it was a Japanese-occupied place in Korea.
A couple of years later, his nation became very chaotic as the tensions between South Korea and North Korea started to affect all the citizens of those countries.
This had a big impact in his life, as he was able to experience first hand what it was like to grow up in a country that had many internal and external conflicts, and where children weren’t allowed to have a normal childhood anymore. So, his childhood dreams were to live in a safe country, an interesting fact about Ban Ki-moon.
2. Ban Ki-moon met U.S President John F. Kennedy when he was still a high school student
Ban Ki-moon decided to participate in an English language competition in the early 60s. He was still in high school, so he thought he would write the best possible essay and send it in.
He didn’t really think much about this essay, but soon later he found out that he had won the competition that was organised by the American Red Cross.
He has said that after winning the award and flying to the United States his life changed completely. In fact, when he met the U.S President John F. Kennedy, he thought about his future and it was then when he realized he wanted to become a diplomat.
He spoke about this to the President and John F. Kennedy actually encouraged him to continue to have an active involvement with politics and activism, as he saw a great potential on Ban Ki-moon.
3. Ban Ki-moon has truly focused on his education since day one
After winning the English competition, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, from Seoul National University. He was the best student in his class, which graduated in 1970, an interesting fact about Ban Ki-moon.
He also received a Master’s Degree from John. F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1985. So, to him, being able to achieve this success and go abroad to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world was a real life-changing moment.
Ban Ki-moon is fluent in Korean, French and English and he has a great understanding of both Spanish and Italian.
4. Ban Ki-moon has had an important career as an Ambassador
In 1970 Ban Ki-moon joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in South Korea. A couple of years later, he received his Master’s degree.
It has been said that Ban Ki-moon chose India over the United States when he had to decide where to go for his first overseas posting, as he thought he would be able to financially support his family if he was in the Asian country.
In India, he was able to save a little bit of money each month and send it to his family, who really needed it at the time, as South Korea was still recovering from the internal problems it had.
But this wasn’t really an issue for him though, because a couple of years later, he became South Korea’s Deputy Ambassador to the United States. In fact, Ban Ki-moon has had a strong and important relationship with North America, especially with the United States. He has lived there for a couple of years.
He was then able to represent South Korea as an Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia. And finally, in 2004, Ki-moon became the Foreign Minister of South Korea, a role he took very seriously.
5. Ban Ki-moon has contributed greatly towards the achievement of gender equality
As a matter of fact, one of Ki-moon’s greatest accomplishments has been the creation of a new organization within the United Nations called the United Nations Women, an interesting Ban Ki-moon fact. He wanted to create an organization where there would be gender equality, where women’s rights were discussed and where women would feel comfortable to create greater campaigns to be implemented in other areas of the United Nations as well.
Through the UN Women, the United Nations was able to organise a campaign that was called ‘’Unite to End Violence Against Women’’, and another initiative called ‘’Stop Rape Now’’.
During his years as a Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon has spoken about the necessity of having an equal society, where women and men are paid equally and where support will be given to those who are in need.
6. Ban Ki-moon was the eighth United Nations’ Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon was elected as the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2006, and he had to follow the footsteps of very important figures in the world’s politics, such as Kofi Annan.
Even though this wasn’t an easy task, he was able to secure all of the votes from the United Nations’ council and he won the elections. He was truly loved during his time as a Secretary-General.
In fact, he was so loved that he was re-elected for his second – and last – term in 2011, a role he had until December 31st, 2016. He said at the time he wanted to retire from the international and public life as he was getting older and he wanted to enjoy more time with his close relatives.
As you can see, it seems like Ban Ki-moon has had a very interesting life, where he was almost destined to become the United Nations Secretary-General.
His life has been plagued by international meetings, travels from all over the world, and getting to know individuals from different continents who are trying to achieve one thing: to save the world from climate change and to become a more equal society.
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