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Post of UN Secretary-General: Why not a Buddhist next time?

By Senaka Weeraratna, The Buddhist Channel, July 23, 2010

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- 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, namely Trygve Lie, Dag Hammarskjold, U Thant, Kurt Waldheim, Javier de Perez de Cuellar, Boutros Boutros - Ghali, Kofi Annan, Ban Ki - moon

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.


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