New York Sun Reporter views of New Secretary-general

What Is New and What is Not at the UN?
On January 1, 2007, Mr. Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea was sworn in as the eighth Secretary-general of the United Nations. He brings to his post 37 years of service both in government and on the global stage. Our guest speaker, reporter Benny Avni, a staff reported of the New York Sun and writes often on the United Nations. Mr. Avni was born in Israel and service in the Israeli military. The New York Sun is a contemporary five-day daily newpaper published in New York City. When it debuted on April 16, 2002, it became "the first general interest broadsheet newspaper to be launched in New York in two generations."
Mr. Avni noted that Mr. Ban is significantly different from his predecessors with his relations to the United States. Experience shows that every time the United Nations clashes with the United States, the UN becomes irrelevant. Without strong cooperation with the United States, the United Nations cannot make a difference. While China is a growing power and playerat the UN, and terrorist groups can have a significant capability to wreck havoc throughout the world, the US is in fact the only Super Power. As a result, the US is able to act in the world theater, maybe not as effectively as with the UN. However, the UN cannot act at all without the full participation and cooperation of the United States mr. Avni noted. He went on to say that many UN member-states ,including many of the democracies, believe that the role of the UN should be a counter-weight to the United States.

For example, Butros-Butros Ghali entered office as "Pro-Soviet" and converted to a"Pro-United States" position. However, he began to assert UN independence, and as a result he clashed with the Clinton administration. As a result, he was not selected by the Security Council for a customary second five-year term. The most recent Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, when selected was very "Pro-United States", but as a consequence of his claims that the Iraqi War was illegal, Mr. Annan spent the last few years of his term in confrontation with the US.
Secretary-general Ban however is of the generation that feels South Korea owes its very existence to the United States. He, and as does our guest speaker, believe that the US is a force of good in the world, and his sensibilities coincide with those of the US deligation. In addition, he also has a broader business background than his predecessors, Unlike Kofi Annan, who spent most of his career at the UN rising through its bureaucracy, Mr. Ban was a South Korean foreign minister and earned a living in private sector. He also believes that civic work is important. Also, Secretary-general Ban readily filled a financial disclosure form, while his predecessor was very hesitant to do so, even though all other high-level administrators and appointees at the UN were required to do so.
Furthermore, to the chagrin of our guest speaker, Mr. Ban held his first meetings at the UN in New York at 8:00 a.m. Our guest speaker and many in the UN community are not accustomed to attending meetings and briefings until lunch time. This ispart of the new work ethic that Me Ban is trying to implement.

What is not new?
To actually change the organization's culture, Mr. Ban had to bring in innovative, high-level administrators. However, he quickly learned that every change he attempted to make had to navigate through a massive mill to be accepted by the bureaucracy. Then the changes ultimately had to be approved by the General Assembly. In order to make some transformations, Secretary-general Ban was required to identify the "trouble makers", recompense them in some manner, and only then he was able to move forward with his adaptation. As a consequence, many of the UN high-level administrators are still in charge of many of the UN's agencies.

Our speaker also noted that there has been much "fanfare" about the recently restructured Human Rights Council that replaced the discredited Human Rights Commission. Mr. Avni outlined the "significant" reform that was made. The reformed Council now has 48 member instead of the previous 53. He also noted that since its inception, the Human Rights Council has implemented a total of eight resolutions. All eight were regarding violations by the state of Israel, and three more are pending on Israel. The

New York Sun's reporter sarcastically noted that according to the newly "reformed Council " there are no other human rights violations in the world. As such Burma, Tibet, Darfor, ect., have not committed any human rights violations. Mr. Avni said that in all fairness, it should be mentioned that the reformed Council has taken the "bold" steps to investigate the situation in Darfur. Sudan is not mentioned, he noted.
Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea, Official Biography from the UN Website
Career highlights
At the time of his election as Secretary-general, Mr. Ban was his country's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His long tenure with the ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington DC and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Advisor to the President, Chief National Security Advisor 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.Mr. Ban has long-standing ties with the United Nations, dating back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry's United Nations division. That work expanded over the years, with assignments as First Secretary at the ROK’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, Director of the UN Division at the ministry's headquarters in Seoul, and Ambassador to Vienna, during which time, in 1999, he served as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. In 2001-2002, as Chef-de-Cabinet during the ROK’s Presidency of the General Assembly, he facilitated the prompt adoption of the first resolution of the session, condemning the terrorist attacks of 11 September, and undertook a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening the Assembly's functioning, thereby helping to turn a session that started out in crisis and confusion into one in which a number of important reforms were adopted.Mr. Ban has also 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.Education
Mr. Ban received a bachelor's degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.Prizes and awardsMr. Ban has received numerous national and international prizes, medals and honors. In 1975, 1986 and again in 2006, he was awarded the ROK’s Highest Order of Service Merit for service to his country.PersonalMr. Ban was born on 13 June 1944. He and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son and two daughters. In addition to Korean, Mr. Ban speaks English and French.*********