United Nations Secretary-General
- I am a cheerleader, I am a promoter, I am a salesman, I am a debt collector, I am a father confessor and there are other aspects I still have to discover.
- - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan describing his job
The United Nations Secretary-General
is the head of the Secretariat
, one of the principal organs of the United Nations
. According to the United Nations Charter
, the Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly
on the recommendation of the Security Council
. The Secretary-General is described by the Charter as the "chief administrative officer" of this organization; his or her role includes not only administering the Secretariat, but also speaking out on global issues and using his or her good offices to mediate disputes.
UN Secretaries-General normally spend two terms in office; however, sometimes, they will serve only one if there is significant member state disapproval of their performance, as was the case, for example, with Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The position of UN Secretary-General is supposed to rotate by geographic region, but that rule is often broken; since Mr Boutros-Ghali served only one term, a successor that was also from Africa was chosen, namely, Kofi Annan, and after Mr Annan had finished his first term, the member states were so impressed with Annan's performance that he was appointed for a second term despite the fact that the next Secretary-General should have been from Asia. There has not yet been a Secretary-General from North America or Australia.
- Sir Gladwyn Jebb (United Kingdom, Europe), acting, 1945 to 1946.
- Trygve Lie (Norway, Europe), February 1946 to his resignation in November 1952.
- Dag Hammarskjöld (Sweden, Europe), April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), September 1961.
- U Thant (Burma, now Myanmar, Asia), acting to November 1961, elected November 1962, served until December 1971.
- Kurt Waldheim (Austria, Europe), January 1972 to the threat of Chinese veto of his third term in December 1981.
- Javier Pérez de Cuéllar (Peru, South America), January 1982 to December 1991; did not run for a third term.
- Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt, Africa), January 1992 to the American veto of his second term in December 1996.
- Kofi Annan (Ghana, Africa), January 1997 to present.