Changing of the guard

Outgoing U.N. head Ban Ki-moon would like to see a woman in the top job

Ban Ki-moon (L) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who some hope will make a late run at nominating for U.N. secretary-general. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he would like to see a woman lead the organization, for the first time in since it was established more than 70 years ago. Looking ahead to the end his second five-year term on December 31, Ban said “it’s high time now” for a woman secretary-general. He is the eighth man to head up the organization.

Women in the running so far include Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), Susana Malcorra (Argentina), Helen Clark (New Zealand), Christiana Figueres (Costa Rica) and Natalia Gherman (Moldova.) There is no deadline for nominations and long-shot late entries might include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bulgarian World Bank official Kristalina Georgieva. “We have many distinguished and eminent women leaders in national governments or other organizations or even business communities, political communities, and cultural and every aspect of our life,” Ban told The Associated Press. “There’s no reason why not the United Nations.”

The decision will be made by the 15-member Security Council, who will recommend a candidate for approval by the 193-member General Assembly. Traditionally, the post has been rotated among regions, with secretary-generals so far coming from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Western Europe. East European nations are arguing it is their turn, but a group of 56 nations are campaigning for a first female U.N. chief as a priority.

Ban said the secretary-general should have “strong, compassionate and visionary leadership,” and be able to articulate the importance of human dignity for vulnerable groups, including women and girls, the disabled and “people in homosexual orientations and minority groups.”

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


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