‘Resolved: Uniting Nations in a Divided World’ is a memoir of Ban Ki-moon, the visionary, former Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007-17). The book provides an insight into the life and challenges of the Secretary-General while holding this important office. Ban Ki-moon’s family suffered severe scarcity of food, shelter, healthcare, personal safety alongside frequent dislocations during the Korean war when he was just a six-year-old. It was the UN that prevented the North from ruining the South and saved the country and the lives of its people, something Ban Ki-moon would always remain grateful for.
Inspired by President John F Kennedy, Ban set a goal of becoming a career diplomat with an ambition of bringing peace, development, and Resolved prosperity to various countries in the world. He realized this goal and went on to become South Korea’s Foreign Minister in 2004 that was followed by getting elected as the Secretary-General by winning the support of all of the tall global leaders.
UNSG is not an easy job. Ban gives an account of how he had to tackle issues of terrorism, peacekeeping, sustainable development, climate change, human rights, and global health. Peacekeeping is truly a complex, costly, difficult, dangerous, and sometimes frustrating function of the UN. He mentions vividly the UN’s attempt to end the civil war in Sudan and considers South Sudan’s independence as one of the proudest moments in his diplomatic life. He laments failed international efforts to end the war in Syria or the UN’s inability to end a lengthy civil war and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. Ban recalls important UN initiatives especially the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals that seek to end poverty and hunger, advance health and education, and promote peace, justice, and strong institutions. For Ban, SDGs are a social contract between the governments and the people of our world.