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Quiz U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

January 27th, 2011
05:09 PM ET

South Korean Ban Ki-Moon is the current Secretary-General of the United Nations and has held the position since 2007.

Ban Ki-Moon is the first South Korean to ever hold the important post and has been at the forefront of several important reforms at the U.N. - from peacekeeping to employment practices.

The 66-year-old has also been outspoken on several issues including global warming and the situation in the Darfur.

However, Mr Ban has also been criticized in the past for not speaking out on controversial issues.

And while he's been compared to his predecessor Kofi Annan - known for his charismatic and media-savvy style - Mr Ban says his approach is "quiet diplomacy" and achieves much more behind the scenes and in one-on-one meetings with world leaders.

Ban Ki-Moon is currently at the World Economic Forum in Davos to work with other world leaders on issues like nuclear and food safety.

Here's your unique opportunity to have your questions answered by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Please leave your questions for Ban below and be sure to tell us where you're writing from.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Reed Sweet

    In the news coverage of this week's Congressional hearing on UN fraud and incompetence, it wasreported that the UN Secretariat's own acting head of investigations is himself under investigation - for evidence tampering and for retaliation against whistleblowers. It was also been reported that the job of Director of Investigations has been vacant since July 2006 - almost five years! Are these assertions true, and if so, how can you say that you are a good steward of US taxpayer funds?

    January 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  2. Sietse

    – How do you respond to the argument that the UN is too bureaucratic and powerless, and how do you think the UN can become more effective in achieving its goals?
    – What is your view on Security Council reform, specifically on its membership and veto rules?
    – What are the biggest challenges you face as Secretary General of the UN?
    – What is your advice to young, aspiring diplomats like myself?
    – How does Model UN differ from working in the real UN?

    January 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  3. peter

    Dear Mr. Ban,

    i would like to bring your attention to the piracy situation in the somali basin and indian ocean. the navy fleets are helping to some degree, but due to the vastness of the area to patrol, remain inneffective and grossly expensive for all involved.
    i am sure you are aware of the situation so i will not go into more details.

    i work for a large maritime company, and we are trying to get through a much more cost effective and self paying solution. but changes are slow and difficult to implement especially with so many parties involved, and this is where i see the UN taking a more central coordinating role to help solve the issue.
    every ship should have armed guards with key pick-up and drop-off points. properly equipped, one does not need more than a few soldiers per ship, and the cost of which could easily be borne by the commercial community simply by not having to deviate to either avoid the more dangerous pirate zones, or saving absurd war risk and randsom insurance costs or waiting and paying for convoys. some navy ships would still be required in case of need, but the deterrent of having armed guards would with clear and internationally approved rules of engagement would be enough to stop completely the problem. again i would like to point out that the soldiers could easily be paid for, and god forbid even create profits for our heavily endebted governments.

    we have made these proposals already through the various international organizations who are dealing with this problem, but there is nobody who can tackle and force through this solution. maybe you can

    yours sincerely
    peter

    January 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  4. Keira

    I'd like to ask Ban-Ki Moon, what steps does the UN take when diplomacy and sanctions fail to solve a problem? For example, Saddam Hussein was issued multiple warnings and well as Ahmadinejad's regime yet they continued to violate human rights & international law at will. What power, if any, does the UN have to help/solve these types of problems??

    Thanks!

    Keira
    NY

    January 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  5. Herbert Bagambe

    Mr. SG,

    Your way forward on human rights development among nations and how you can engage sophiscated nations on the issues to support the cause in less advanced nations on the issue?

    I myself believe if human rights are respected and well used can be contributing to social, economic and political development of nations. Probably if all is well, resources towards human rights can go to direct causes as education and health.

    January 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  6. Fasole olumide

    What's the u.n sec' general's analysis of the skirmish between the north & southern korean republic. Secondly,whats the u.n stand on somalia,egypt and the like in crisis. Oyo town,Nigeria.

    January 27, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  7. Christian Omlin

    Good evening!

    The negotiations in Cyprus have been going on for a very long time without any visible progress. It is fairly obvious that neither the Turkish-Cypriot nor the Greek-Cypriot side are keen on a solution that sees the two communities reunited in any form. If they were serious about it, a solution would have been found by now. At the same time, the status quo of isolation of and embargoes against Northern Cyprus are really no longer tenable; such measures seem unjust.

    What steps, if any, will the UN take to support the lifting of sanctions against and the independence of Northern Cyprus if this current round of negotiations fail?

    Thank you.

    With kindest regards

    Christian W. Omlin
    Guzelyurt/Morphou

    January 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  8. Farida Yehia

    Dear Mr. Ban,
    I see Egypt suffering from poverty, high unemployment rates and torture.
    For 30 years now my country hasn't seen any form of democracy or recognition of Human Rights.
    Frustration and anger has led more than 20 thousand Egyptians to demonstrate in these past days.
    As you know these demonstrations have turned out to be violent and brutal. People are being beaten for stating their opinion,although the U.N. stands for freedom of speech.
    Why isn't the U.N. interfering or sending peace keepers to try to control the situation ?
    And why isn't the U.N. interfering in the elections and making sure that the people in power are the ones who were fairly chosen by the nation ?

    Thank you

    Sincerely,
    Farida Yehia
    16 Year old student
    Cairo, Egypt

    January 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  9. Eric Papaeracleous

    Your Excellency, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, I am from Cyprus, and would like to ask if there are realistic chances for a federation solution here, with ONE recognized state , with two zones, considering the intransigent stand of Turkey , insisting on two countries in a small island. I am a Greek-speaking Cypriot, but most of us want a Cyprus for all nationalities, where we can live and work anywhere we please, without referring to a Greek part or a Turkish part. Eventually, we should all become Cypriots, freely living in cyprus, no other ethnic denominations. Thank you. eric Papaeracleous, Limassol, Cyprus.

    January 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  10. Carmen Paun

    What do you answers to those saying that the United Nations as an organisation has lost its relevance in the current world which is very different than the reality of the world after the Second World War, when the UN was created?

    Another question would be:
    As a South Korean, how difficult is it to distance yourself from your nationality when dealing with the North Korea-South Korea conflict as the Secretary General of the UN?

    January 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  11. linda herzberg

    I would like to ask you why it is that Israel is always singled out among all the nations?
    I would like to bring to your attention the genocide of Darfur, Rwanda among others. We do not hear much about the situation of the Kurds in Turkey. The Armenians and the genocide of this people.
    I would like to ask how is it that Israel is condemned as soon as there is a chance ( the flotilla) while Mr. Erdogan of turkey within the same week is able to bomb his "own" Turkish people? Why are you not speaking up for human rights in Iran. at the moment they hold the "prize" of executing a person every 8th hour? how can Libya hold the
    chairman in the Human rights council in Geneva and hardly anybody notices? I DO believe in the UN , but sometimes have my doubts.
    sincerly linda herzberg

    January 27, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  12. Tegan

    Mr. Secretary General,

    I am an avid proponent of the UN but have begun to seriously question the viability of the UN as an organization in terms of knowledge management, institutional memory, etc. What do you think about the contention that the UN is turning into a consultant organization? Or the perception that in addition to being ineffective in the long term, offering many short term consultancies is actually a way for the UN to avoid being a fair employer and doing what they adovcate for member states to do (fair wages, health benefits, vacation time)?

    January 28, 2011 at 1:35 am | Reply
  13. Greg V

    Mister Secretary-General-

    I have always whole-heartedly supported the work of the United Nations, and academically Model UN has always been a major part of my life. Furthermore, I hope to work in international relations, possibly for the UN, as a career. Thus I have a question for you:

    In light of changing patterns of economics and unilateral state interactions, what are you doing to keep the United Nations relevant in the 21st century?

    Thank you for all you do for our world, and good luck in the future.

    Greg V
    Chicago, IL, USA

    January 28, 2011 at 2:19 am | Reply
  14. Scott Bae

    Mr. Ban,

    Just like you, I am one of millions of South Koreans concerned over the tension on the Korean Peninsula.

    Seoul, after several instances of aggressive North Korean provaction, have begun to take a more resolute stance through firm rhetoric such as warning of an airstrike in the case of future provocations.

    Although military negotiations are opening up now, the North have always proven to be unpredictable and future acts of aggression would not be surprising. If South Korea does retaliate as stated by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jin, tension may break out into war. If such an unfortunate event occurs, how will the UN intervene?

    Thank you,

    JunHyung (Scott) Bae
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    January 28, 2011 at 4:23 am | Reply
  15. Nicodemus Aketch Ishmael

    Dear Ban,

    I'm writing from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. I'd like to know the take of the UN to the Kenya Hague bound six as it has generated a lot of interest locally.
    The divided government of Kenya lobbying for African Union to help it get the six out of the Hague trials.
    Another issue of concern is the employment at the UN, how does one qualify for gainful employment as I have tried to no avail even with my ICT background spanning over twenty years and being a finalist for an MSc in Information Systems at the University of Nairobi, how can my vast knowledge be used in ITU-T/ITU-D and any other arm of the UN to help humanity get hocked to Information that is power and help unlock potential in the many areas of Kenya and the world where I can serve my fellow human beings.
    Thanks and God bless you for your focused leadership.

    Regards,

    N.A. Ishmael

    January 28, 2011 at 6:12 am | Reply
  16. alex pais

    Sir, how would you view a reform to the UN voting system whereby those contributing the most per-capita funds will have a higher value vote than those who are not, and the countries with particular repressive, dictatorial regimes are denied the voting rights altogether.
    Thank You.

    January 28, 2011 at 6:55 am | Reply
  17. Nhlanhla Madide

    Mr Moon

    I am South African, the UN on Africa and African leadership, seems to take positions without understanding. The UN seems to base it's decisions more on media reports than on subjective investigation. That is why you'll find that the Western ways embarassingly fail to work on these issues.

    What are your views on this frustrating phenomenon?

    January 28, 2011 at 6:55 am | Reply
  18. Dr. Rudolf Jossifov

    Dear Sir,
    So many issues are on the agenda of the UN and its member states. Efficiency, accuracy and persistence in implementation of the resolutions of the GA and SC is of eminent importance.
    The call of the United Nations, for preserving peace and future generations from the threat of war, is as vivid as in 1945, when the World organization was founded. Since that time unfortunately war has fallen over various nation of the World, from Europe Greece, Korea, Vietnam,Middle East,Algeria, Congo,Africa, Latin and central America, Asia. Almost every continent until this days has been affected by this bad experience. Not to speak about the so called war on terror, which formally goes almost 10 years. We are coming in a new area like in the mid ages of 10, 20 or even 30 year wars. Look at the Congo,Sir, where since 1960 people in various regions of the country experience war like conditions. For how long will the United Nations act after war happens, and not try, in accordance with its statute, to prevent war and hostilities in every part of the world, and find Peace full solutions, prior to the outbreak of war?
    Why Member States of the United Nations continue to tolerate the breach of international law and use of force without a decision of the Security Council?

    Mankind is facing a tremendous threat also from another man made problems in the field of climate change. Probably Air, so important for all the Life on Earth will be so polluted, that Life on Earth will be threatened. Billions are invested to clean the World, but scientist are warning that this is not enough. Quite Diplomacy has not and will not work in that field. What will you personally do, Sir, in order to bring effective measures of the United Nation on its way, aimed at stopping the Climate change on Earth?

    Thank you.
    Best regards
    Dr. Rudolf Jossifov
    Former Chairman of Standing Committee III of the United Nations Council for Namibia
    Europe

    January 28, 2011 at 7:07 am | Reply
  19. sabah Nur

    Hello Mr. Ban,
    Would like your opinion for the following;
    Permanent members of Security council was & still consist of 5 members since the last century, I believe as a forward step toward reform, the membership should be increased & balanced to reflect the planet population, in order for other nations to exercise responsibility & feel included in major decisions that may need to be taken.
    Countries like India, brazil, Malaysia, should be pavement members of the security council...now the appearance of the current membership, appears to the average person is that only nuclear powers are pepment members..And at the same time UN exerting efforts & working on the non-proliferation of necualr weapons program...admissions of other nation nations into the permanent membership club of the Security Council would show sincerence & good faith that nuclear weapons are obsolete weapons..Weapon of the past and useless in resolving problems & spread development & prosperity.
    Thank you

    Best Regards
    sabah Nur

    January 28, 2011 at 7:23 am | Reply
  20. Clothcap

    How much of the UN structure and personnel is productive from the point of view of nations supporting it and nations that need aid? (Asked because many large charities spend over 95% of revenue on running costs)
    Considering the numerous negatives associated with the UN edifice, e.g. staggering remuneration levels, if you were a sovereign nation leader and aware of the negatives would you support the UN and its enormous overburden of spin-offs – i.e. has the UN outgrown its ability to be useful sufficient to justify ending its continued funding?
    Considering the UN role in avoiding DDT use (based on opinion) using aid as the lever, is population reduction a UN mission?
    Does the UN plan to do anything meaningful WRT the predicted widespread water shortages and ongoing biofuel ballooned impoverishment and starvation?

    How influential is Rockefeller and the GS led bank cartel in UN affairs?
    Does M. Strong still receive money via the UN?

    Climate scares as political agenda progression aids (a stated CoR policy).
    Why is the beneficial gas STILL, after 25 years, being hyped as harmful based solely on biased opinion?
    What role does the Club of Rome (and its siblings) play in directing UN policy?
    What other "think tanks" (e.g. Bilderberg, CFR etc.) does the UN take policy direction from?
    To what extent does the UN use public funds to support political advocacies such as the UNEP, IPCC, and faux charities, WWF, WMO, TERI etc?
    Why was UNEP allowed to set up the IPCC as a warmageddon activist advocacy rather than a dispassionate reporter of (non) progress in climate predictability?
    Why was Pachauri with vested interests, Deutsche bank, TERI, CCX etc. allowed to continue as IPCC leader?
    Why was he allowed to develop those conflicts using his position in the UN?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that if Mr Ban was inclined towards liking humans, how would he alter the UN so that the perception of its charity side is seen as more than just a mechanism to get free money to advance its political objectives and expand its bureaucracy?

    January 28, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
  21. TANKEU FOKOUE IDRISS

    what prouve the world that there is no corrupt in UN ?

    January 28, 2011 at 11:37 am | Reply
  22. Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press

    Mr. Ban - About Sri Lanka, on December 17 and January 14 you said that your Panel on Accountability for crimes of war could go to the country. But now the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa - whose “flexibility” you praised - has said no, and your officials are officially leaking that the trip is not essential, and probably will not happen.

    Who in the Sri Lankan government did you speak with before making your Dec 17 and Jan 14 statements? As a reporter at the UN, I have daily asked your Spokesperson, with no response – in fact, Sri Lanka response provided to questions asked by Inner City Press from elsewhere in the UN system have been withheld. Do you still find President Rajapaksa “flexible”? Why has your approach to the civilians killed in Sri Lanka been so different from those elsewhere?

    How do you respond to Human Rights Watch's critique that you may not deserve a second term as Secretary General due to this weakness on human rights?

    Matthew Russell Lee
    InnerCityPress.com
    New York, NY

    January 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  23. Prem Nizar Hameed

    If the world leaders sincerely put their efforts to remove the veto power, that will be a great achievement in the world of democracy. If this problem is solved, some of the long standing issues will soon come to an end. Veto power is, in my opinion, against the democratic credentials we preach every now and then. Because, the veto power seems to be a stumbling block to articles 1 to 30 of the UN. I wonder how Mr.Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, can justify to his responsibilities as long as the veto power has a final say! Most of the member countries may have such opinion. Why are they so silent then against one of the undemocratic systems in the world? People fight day and night for changing the holy systems. Why don’t they spend some time for this system? It is a subject that should come now in the focus of the world arena. Maybe I am ignorant about the relevancy of the veto power in the UN Security Council. Can any one debate on this?

    Prem Nizar Hameed
    SSCL
    Riyadh
    Saudi Arabia

    January 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  24. Park ji sun

    Now, we have several improtant worldwide problems like global warming (I felt directively the weather change in this winter in the Korea Peninsula, it was much colder than any other winter before) and nuclear problem, something like that. these problems have been debated for solutions long time. U.N. might have really a lot of the smartest people from the diverse countries. but why we still have troubled these problems without any trustworthy solutions ? I can't feel directively even indirectively that we are improving gradually. What do you think about that? why we don't gather the strong power to solve the worldwide problems? Of course, it is very difficult matter. but I believe you're trying to sovle these problems in your position.

    Thank you.

    Park Ji Sun
    South Korea

    February 4, 2011 at 8:20 am | Reply
  25. myklds

    Sir,

    I understand why you've distance yourself from NK-SK conflict and let alone U.S. do the job. But in the case of Egypt, why U.N. seemed silent still?

    I have been an avid supporter of U.S. handling conflicts of other countries, promoting Democracy and Peace. But, is U.S. the U.N.?

    One more question, is it for real? Does Mr. Ban Ki-Moon read this one?

    February 5, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
  26. yassergom

    Your main problem is simply very clear :
    1- You get to know the Egyptian nature through your own media and reporters that want to show to your public a one way message. the message that is complying with your ideas and ethics. Your administration wants to show to your public that they are with the freedom of the people all over the world while you are killing millions of our Muslim brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan .
    2- You and your administration are playing with fire , real fire by relying on those people that are believing in your ethics and keep spending their life on the internet till they did believed the big dream of America the paradise of freedom but they do not want to see the other face of USA. the face that is supporting Israel day and night because Israel is the real country that is controlling your country and you know that.
    3- Mubarak has nothing to offer to US and has nothing to help you to spread your new Middle East region therefore he must go now . You need Egypt to be in a big miss so Israel can do what they want to do without anyone can notice or think specially the reform that you are talking about will be spread through the whole area, so who will have time to think about your real agenda.
    4- If you are really thinking for one second that the millions of the Egyptians are really believing on what you are doing then let me tell you that you are living in a very big dream . A dream that when will come to be true it will be a real disaster for you.
    5- YOU and your administration are keep talking in your media machine that Mubarak was lying on you by giving you wrong information and the reality of the Muslim Brotherhood and you wanted to believe that. But the reality is that they have the full power and the time will show that to you. in the coming days you will feel the impact of the Muslim brotherhood after getting into the negotiation with the Egyptian Adm.I can tell you blindly that they are millions and everywhere in our society. This does not mean that they are bad peoples but who think that they are minority then this is your big mistake.
    6- I can tell you that we were hating the US people and I mean by people here your administration. but now millions and millions of Egyptians , normal workers, labors, normal people are hating you much more than before because we felt and believed that you are seriously insulting us by giving our Official president and exit order. you believed that Egypt became one of your states because of the 1.75 Billion US$ that your are giving to us . but what you do not know is that the real Egyptians can eat only bread but not to be hurtled in their dignity. IF you are going to speak to any normal Egyptian now in the streets you will have same answer US go to hill .
    7- YOU want to hear one voice only .. those one or two or even three millions that had been effected by your opinions and values. but any one of your reporters tried to go the normal villages of Egypt and did a survey about what they do think about what is happening now? you will be astonished to hear what I know.
    8- All your media showed this un civilized attack on the protesters last Wednesday and automatically your reports get the one way answer from only the Anti Mubarak saying that those people are from the police or ex police. Do you think that Mubarak is idiot guy , as soon as he finished his speech to the public where 90% of his people felt sorry for him and became on his side, then he will order or any of his administration to destroy what he gained through his speech. you have to ask yourselves one simple question. How and how want to eliminate the effect of that speech in order to increase the tense and to fire the situation again ? But again you do not want to listen.
    9- Can anyone tell me why CNN immediately after they realized that the volume of protesters in the streets are not the same like first day and the final Friday never come like what you want start announcing that there is information showing the wealth of Mubarak family this between 40-70 Billion US$ while Egypt federal reserve is only 36 Billion US$ ? The answer is clear , simply to push the people to ask not only Mubarak to leave but to be send to jail as he got the Egyptian money? your plan is very poor. you do not want to see the real reaction in facebook . you are seeing only the facebook pages that you want to see.
    10- You are playing with fire and keep putting oil to increase the flame. but take it from a real Egyptian , then the flame is becoming too high it will hit every one starting from you till us .
    BY the way I was anti Mubarak but I can confirm to you that since last Friday only I'm with Mubarak and not only me but millions and millions that I can read the words from their eyes .
    11- take your hands out of Egypt . you are not our God and no one in this world appointed you to be the policeman of this world. Solve first your internal issues and then come to us . Look at your US people that are not having just food to eat and living in the streets,
    God bless us and we want to go to hill rather than going to your paradise
    Real Egyptian Man

    February 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  27. Jurgen Brul

    Hello Ban Ki-Moon and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Ban Ki-Moon on the following questions:

    – How are going to Improve our world?

    – What can we expect from you in 2011?

    I am awaiting Ban Ki-Moon’s replies.

    Greetings,
    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Nativity country: Suriname

    February 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  28. am solomon frm university of jos nigeria

    Hello mr ban ki i don't have question for you but what i have for you is pray God will give you wisdom to compete all your good plan to all the world the whole world need your service please.

    February 9, 2011 at 8:22 am | Reply

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