UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Honored

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Honorary Degree

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Receiving an Honorary Degree from LMU on April 6, 2016.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Honored

Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The world’s most prominent diplomat, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Loyola Marymount University on Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

A capacity crowd in the Life Sciences Auditorium, including Rep. Maxine Waters, saw Ban, a former diplomat in South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recognized for his humanitarian accomplishments; exceptional dedication to the United Nations, his country and the citizens of the world; and his integrity, life and work as an embodiment of the promotion of justice and service to others.

Ban spoke of his childhood as a refugee during the outbreak of the Korean War and how he saw the United Nations come in and become the lifeline for the Korean people. “So many still see the United Nations flag as a beacon of hope,” he told the rapt audience. He urged the students present to find ways to be of service to others.

“The world is full of peril,” Ban said, “but I believe we are moving toward the right direction.” Without the peacekeeping efforts of the U.N., “many more would have been killed, more women would have died, more people would have died of preventable diseases.”

Ban is the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of global challenges, including climate change, economic upheaval, pandemics including Ebola, and the increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the organization itself.

Ban took office on Jan. 1, 2007. He was unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly in June 2011, and will serve until Dec. 31, 2016.

One of Ban’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda. Subsequent efforts to focus on the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, have generated more than $60 billion in pledges with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health.

Ban has also worked for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the U.N.’s work on behalf of women. His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the Unite to End Violence against Women campaign and the Stop Rape Now initiative. Within the UN itself, Ban has increased the number of women in senior management positions by more than 40 percent, reaching the highest level in the organization’s history.

Ban has sought to strengthen UN peace efforts to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations peacekeepers operating in the world’s conflict zones. He has also has introduced new measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient, including heightened financial disclosure requirements.

Ban was born in the Republic of Korea in 1944. He earned 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. Ban speaks English, French and Korean. He and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, who he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and four grandchildren.