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October 8, 2009

UN Secretary-General to receive honorary UW degree Oct. 26

News and Information

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the UW at a formal academic convocation at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in Meany Hall. As part of the convocation, Ban will also deliver the 2009 Severyns-Ravenholt Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Political Science.

UW President Mark A. Emmert will preside over the ceremony. Also participating will be the University’s Regents, faculty, and public officials. Ban will also meet with UW students for a discussion of the work of the UN and challenges facing the world’s nations.

“We are honored to have Secretary-General Ban visit the University and Seattle,” said Emmert. “He is a consummate statesman and a skilled diplomat, and his presence here reflects the University’s commitment to global citizenship and engagement on the world stage. It’s a great privilege to be able to recognize his accomplishments and confer an honorary doctorate upon him.”

Ban is the eighth Secretary-General of the UN, having served for 37 years in government and on the global stage. At the time of his election as Secretary-General, he was Korea’s minister of foreign affairs and trade. His long tenure with the ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C., and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including foreign policy adviser to the president, chief national security adviser 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 increasingly important role for peace and prosperity in the region and the wider world.

Ban has longstanding ties with the UN 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 Republic of Korea’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, director of the United Nations 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 Republic of Korea’s presidency of the General Assembly, he facilitated the prompt adoption of the first resolution of the session, condemning the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 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.

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. In July 2008, Ban received an honorary doctoral degree from Seoul National University.

Attendance at the academic convocation is limited to UW students, faculty, staff, and invited guests. For these groups, tickets are available online here. UWTV will also webcast the event live on www.uwtv.org and will provide a live feed for an overflow room in Kane.