The United Nations and a World in Transition


  • Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented a free public talk at Stanford on Thursday, Jan. 17.

Ban, who is the eighth secretary-general of the UN, will speak about the UN's role in creating opportunities out of the challenges posed by today's rapidly transitioning world.

"Times of transition are times of profound opportunity," he recently said during his acceptance speech for the Seoul Peace Prize. "The decisions we make in this period will have an impact for generations to come.”

Ban's initiatives as UN secretary-general have focused on promoting sustainable development; empowering women; supporting countries in crisis or instability; generating new momentum on disarmament, arms control, and nonproliferation; and strengthening the UN. Among his many activities as secretary-general, he has successfully raised major pledges and financing packages for aid and crisis response, established the agency UN Women, and introduced new measures to promote UN transparency and efficiency.

Ban was born in the Republic of Korea in 1944, and he served for 37 years with the ROK Foreign Ministry, in roles including that of minister of foreign affairs and trade, foreign policy adviser to the president, and chief national security adviser to the president. He took office as UN secretary-general in January 2007, and was re-elected for a second term by the UN General Assembly in June 2011. Ban will serve as secretary-general until December 2016.

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies are co-sponsoring the event. Ban's talk, part of the Asia-Pacific Leaders Forum, will kick off a series of activities commemorating Shorenstein APARC's thirtieth anniversary.

Founded in 2005, Shorenstein APARC's Asia-Pacific Leaders Forum regularly convenes senior leaders from across Asia and the Pacific to exchange ideas on current political, economic, and social dynamics in the region.

Related coverage

Speech transcript

Stanford News Service

San Jose Mercury News

Stanford Daily

U.N. News Centre