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Tufts Grad Looks To Lead U.N.

Tufts Grad Looks To Lead U.N.Fletcher graduate and Thai deputy prime minister Surakiart Sathirathai is campaigning to replace Kofi Annan as United Nations’ Secretary-General when his term expires next year.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.27.05] Surakiart Sathirathai is ready to take over the reins of the United Nations, should he be selected to replace current Secretary-General Kofi Annan next year. Since he announced his interest in the position in 2004, Thailand’s deputy prime minister has been on what he calls a “learning tour,” traveling the globe and meeting with world leaders to prepare for what he hopes will be the next step of his career.

“The United Nations is a very important institution,” Sathirathai, who attended the recent U.N. summit in New York, said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I would be able to apply my experience, my knowledge, my training…to the work to promote peace, to create conflict avoidance, to help the poor.”

Sathirathai, who received his MALD from The Fletcher School, served as Thailand’s foreign minister before becoming the country’s prime minister in March. He decided to campaign “for the job early because it illustrates his belief in the transparency of government,” the news organization reported.

If he is selected to take over as secretary-general, Sathirathai said he will focus on transparency at the U.N., as well as organization’s effectiveness and accountability.

“From there, you have issues you have to do for U.N. reform – management reform, strengthening of human rights organizations, the peace building commission, poverty alleviation,” he explained to the Associated Press.

He added that debt relief “is extremely important.”

“I appreciate the role of the G-8 on the debt financing and debt cancellation, but at the same time, we have to work together on the income creation, job creation revenue creation. Otherwise, once debt is relieved, then you create debt again,” he said to the wire service.

Sathirathai is a likely candidate for the position because the U.N. traditionally rotates the secretary-general position by region every 10 years. Annan, who is from Africa, was due to step down from the post in 2001, but was selected for a second term at that point, “partly because Asia could not agree on a candidate,” according to the Associated Press.

An Asian has not run the U.N. since 1971.

“It is the general emerging consensus now that this is an Asian’s turn,” Sathirathai said.












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