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Ban Ki-moon Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations.


Birth date: June 13,1944

Birth place: Chunchongbuk-do Umsong, Republic of Korea

Birth name: Ban Ki-moon

Parents: Names unavailable publicly

Marriage: Yoo Soon-taek (1971-present)

Children: Hyun-hee, Woo-hyun and Seon-yong

Education: Seoul National University, B.A., 1970; Harvard University, M.A., 1985

Other Facts

Name is pronounced Bahn Gi-moon, with the K uttered as a hard “g.”

As a teen, he won a Red Cross-sponsored trip to the United States. He met President John F. Kennedy and decided then that he wanted to become a diplomat.


1970 Passes the South Korean Foreign Service exam.

1972-1974 Vice-consul, South Korean Consulate General in India.

1974-1978 Second secretary, South Korean Embassy in India.

1978-1980 – Secretary, South Korean Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations.

1987-1990 – Consul general, South Korean Embassy to the United States.

1992-1995 – Minister, South Korean Embassy to the United States.

1996 National security adviser to South Korean President Kim Young-sam.

1998-2000 South Korean ambassador to Austria.

1999 Chairman of the preparatory commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization.

2001-2002 – Chef de cabinet during the South Korean presidency of the UN General Assembly.

2003 Foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.

January 2004 Appointed South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

February 14, 2006 Officially declares his candidacy for secretary-general.

October 9, 2006 Formally nominated by the United Nations Security Council to be the next secretary-general, replacing Kofi Annan.

October 13, 2006 Appointed by the UN General Assembly.

January 1, 2007-December 31, 2016 – Serves as the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations.

March 22, 2007 Makes an unannounced visit to Baghdad, Iraq, to meet with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. During a live news conference with Maliki in Baghdad’s Green Zone, a rocket hits just outside the room.

January 20, 2009 – Tours the burned-out ruins of the UN compound in Gaza City which was destroyed by an Israeli bomb.

June 21, 2011 – Ban is appointed to a second term as UN secretary-general, by acclamation.

December 9, 2011 Ban pays an unannounced visit to Mogadishu, the first time a UN chief has visited Somalia in nearly 20 years.

April 30, 2012 Addresses Myanmar‘s Parliament, becoming the first foreigner to do so since military rule began in 1962.

August 29-31, 2012 – Visits Tehran, Iran, for a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.

January 2014 – Invites Iran to attend the Geneva Conference on Syria. The Syrian opposition threatens not to attend the meeting if Iran takes part. The Iranian invitation is withdrawn.

March 2014 – Meets with members of political parties in Kyiv, Ukraine.

December 12, 2015 – At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, 195 representatives pledge to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Ban, who has made climate change one of his priorities, applauds the “Paris Agreement.”

September 14, 2017 – Ban is elected chair of the International Olympic Committee’s Ethics Commission.

February 20, 2018 – Ban is elected president of the Assembly and chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute.

April 9, 2018 – Ban is elected chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia.

January 2018 – The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens is established. The Center is co-chaired by Ban and Heinz Fischer.

October 16, 2018 – Bill Gates, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and Ban launch the Global Commission on Adaptation.

February 5, 2020 – Ban is awarded the Sunhak Peace Prize during the World Summit 2020 General Assembly.

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