Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Buddhist UN Secretary General ?

The post of UN Secretary – General is usually given to a suitable candidate drawn from a particular continent using the principle of geographical rotation, almost every ten years. The tenure of the incumbent usually comprises two five year terms.

It is also incumbent on the Secretary – General to give some representation through his person to the beliefs and values of the dominant civilizations of that continent.

Hindu and Buddhist civilizations have been pre-dominant on the Asian continent for more than two millennia. There are more than ten Buddhist states in Asia, namely Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Kampuchea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Bhutan, Korea, Singapore, China, Japan and Mongolia. There are two Hindu states i.e. India and Nepal. The total population of Buddhists and Hindus in Asia exceeds 2.5 billion. This is a staggering figure that should be taken into account when filling the post of the UN Secretary - General.

Since the inception of the United Nations in 1945 there have been eight individuals who have served as the UN Secretary - General. They are as follows:

1) Trygve Lie
Country : Norway
Religion: Lutheren Christian
Term of Office: 1946 - 1952

2) Dag Hammarskjold
Country: Sweden
Religion: Christian
Term of Office: 1953 - 1961

3) U Thant
Country : Myanmar ( formerly known as Burma )
Religion: Buddhist
Term of Office: 1961 - 1971

4) Kurt Waldheim
Country: Austria
Religion: Roman Catholic
Term of Office: 1972 - 1981

5) Javier de Perez de Cuellar
Country: Peru
Religion: Roman Catholic
Term of Office: 1982 - 1991

6) Boutros Boutros - Ghali
Country: Egypt
Religion: Coptic Christian
Term of Office: 1992 - 1996

7) Kofi Annan
Country: Ghana
Religion: Christian
Term of Office: 1997 -- 2006

8) Ban Ki - moon
Country: South Korea
Religion: Christian (non - denominational)
Term of Office: 2006 - 2011

Breaking it down to continental representation, the post of UN Secretary-General has been held by three Europeans, two Asians (U Thant and Ban Ki - moon), one Latin American (Javier de Perez de Cuellar), and two from the African continent (Boutros Boutros – Ghali and Kofi Annan ) primarily on the basis of geographical rotation.

It is also remarkable to note that seven of the eight holders of this high post have been Christians (or nominal Christians), though drawn from different continents. Only one non - Christian ( U Thant ) has held this post. Not a single Hindu or Muslim has been deemed fit to occupy this position.

The prestige and moral authority of the World's No. 1 Bureaucratic job would be greatly diminished if it is seen to be a niche only for candidates belonging to one religious belief system.

The members of other Great Religions such as Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism should also be allowed to serve in this position.

It is now Asia's turn.

If a Buddhist or Hindu candidate ( Buddhists and Hindus are based primarily in Asia) fails to get elected to this Post in the next round of elections to be held in 2011, it will take another 30 years under the principle of continental rotation for Asia to press its claims and enable a Buddhist or Hindu to assume the Post of UN Secretary - General

The above article is written by a Sri Lankan editor ( presumbly a Buddhist ). Though it provides some interesting information, i don't think what he writes is relevant. If we were to follow his arguement, then the rightful next UN Secretary General should be a Muslim because a Muslim has yet to be appointed as one. Religion shouldn't come into the picture here at all.


Faid said...

whatever religion~ as long as he or she is qualified :D

from wiki, christian/catholic believers are greater in number~and most of them dwell in rich/sophisticated countries.
so-they "deserve" more? hehehe~