Ban Ki-moon Becomes the New United Nations Secretary-General

Ban Ki-moon (Hangul: 반기문; born 13 June 1944) is the current Secretary-General of the United Nations succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007.

Before becoming Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he graduated from college, accepting his first post in New Delhi, India. In the foreign ministry he established a reputation for modesty and competence.

When Ban became Secretary-General, The Economist listed the major challenges facing him in 2007: "rising nuclear demons in Iran and North Korea, a haemorrhaging wound in Darfur, unending violence in the Middle East, looming environmental disaster, escalating international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the spread of HIV/AIDS. And then the more parochial concerns, such as the largely unfinished business of the most sweeping attempt at reform in the UN's history." Before starting, Kofi Annan shared the story that when the first Secretary-General Trygve Lie left office he told his successor, Dag Hammarskjöld, "You are about to take over the most impossible job on earth."