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Ban Ki-moon

8th Secretary-General, United Nations

Ban Ki-moon was born in South Korea and graduated from Seoul University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. In 1984 he received a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In 2008, the UN Secretary-General also earned an honorary Doctoral Degree from Seoul National University. Ban Ki-moon has worked all his life as a career diplomat. His 38-year career in the Foreign Service has included 12 years on UN-related missions. Mr. Ban discovered an interest in diplomacy early on. He decided to devote his life to this passion after meeting President John F. Kennedy on a visit to the United States in 1962 as an 18-year-old student. Upon graduating from college he joined the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs after receiving the top score on the Foreign Service entrance exam. He accepted his first posting in New Delhi, where he served as the Vice Consul. Mr. Ban first started working for the UN as First Secretary at the Republic of Korea's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. He continued his career as the director of the United Nations Division in Seoul at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and became the International Organizations and Treaties Bureau director of the UN. Mr. Ban had several postings in Washington, DC and also served as Director-General for American Affairs in the foreign ministry. During his time as the ambassador to Vienna, he served as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. He was appointed as Foreign Minister in January 2004. During his term as Minister he endeavored to establish peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and promoted the adoption of the Joint Statement on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue at the six-party talks. He was elected the eighth Secretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly on October 13, 2006.