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Benevolent bureaucrat: Ban Ki-moon

  • Story Highlights
  • Ban Ki-moon elected eighth U.N. Secretary-General in October 2006
  • Ban has pushed Sudan on peacekeepers in Darfur and focused on climate change
  • Ban was Ban was South Korea's Foreign Minister from Jan. 2004 to Nov. 2006
  • He has long been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations
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(CNN) -- Back in his native South Korea, the Korean Foreign Ministry nicknamed him "Ban-chusa," meaning "the Bureaucrat" or "the administrative clerk."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has focused on global warming policy by world governments.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has focused on global warming policy by world governments.

While Ban Ki-moon was known for his attention to detail and administrative skill, he was also seen by some as lacking in charisma and subservient to his superiors, while the Korean press called him "the slippery eel" for his ability to dodge questions.

But on October 13, 2006, South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon was elected to be the eighth Secretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly.

Following up on a campaign aiming to bring out his charismatic side, Ban surprised the audience of a UN Correspondents' dinner that December by singing "Ban Ki-moon is coming to town" on the melody of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."

Ban was born on 13 June 1944. He received a bachelor's degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970, and a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1985.

He and his wife, Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son and two daughters. In addition to Korean, Ban speaks fluent English and is studying French.

Ban was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea from January 2004 to November 2006. His tenure included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, while he was responsible for a variety of portfolios such as Foreign Policy Advisor to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.

Throughout this service, his guiding vision was that of a peaceful Korean peninsula, playing an expanding role for peace and prosperity in the region and the wider world.

Ban had long been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations. In 1992, as Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister, he served as Vice Chair of the South-North Joint Nuclear Control Commission following the adoption of the historic Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

In September 2005, as Foreign Minister, he played a leading role in bringing about another landmark agreement aimed at promoting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula with the adoption at the Six Party Talks of the Joint Statement on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.

In January 2007 Ban succeeded Kofi Annan and has since pushed the Sudanese government to allow peacekeeping troops in Darfur and focused on global warming policy by world governments.

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