Poverty + Development

Race Is On To Find A Successor To UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

In the past, the five permanent Security Council members quietly discussed their choices and nominated one to be approved by all U.N. member states. This is changing.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s term expires at the end of this year. The election process to find a successor usually plays out behind closed doors. This year, though, the U.N. is trying something new — giving candidates a chance to make their case in public. And, there’s a big push by activists to get a woman at the helm.

Longtime U.N. watcher Jean Krasno is on a mission. The U.N. has had eight secretaries-general in its 70-year history — all of them men. Krasno, who teaches at The City College of New York and Columbia University, wants the ninth secretary-general to be a woman.

“When we look at the crises around the world — whether it’s civil wars in Africa and the Middle East or the massive migration into Europe — it’s often women that bear the brunt of this,” Krasno says. “They need a voice, and what better way to give women a voice than have the top post at the U.N. be a woman?”

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