A cher­ished mo­ment with JFK

The Washington Times Daily - - DECADE OF LEADERSHIP: UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY - G - By Dr. Gra­ham Al­li­son Gra­ham T. Al­li­son, Jr., Ph.D., is di­rec­tor of the Belfer Cen­ter for Sci­ence and In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity.

I sus­pect you may not be aware of the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Sec­re­taryGen­eral Ban Ki-moon and Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy.

While most ob­servers will be most im­pressed by their dif­fer­ences, I note a sig­nif­i­cant sim­i­lar­ity: their de­ter­mined pur­pose­ful­ness.

I have had the good for­tune to know Ban Ki-moon for sev­eral decades, since he showed up as a stu­dent at the John F. Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment at Har­vard of which I was the “found­ing dean.”

At an open­ing re­cep­tion in which I shook hands with and chat­ted with each of the new stu­dents, when he ar­rived at the front of the line, he in­tro­duced him­self as: “JFK.”

I re­acted with pre­dictable sur­prise. He re­sponded with a wry smile: “Just from Korea.” There­after, among his class­mates, he was nick­named “JFK.”

His path from the for­eign ser­vice in Korea to for­eign min­is­ter and then sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the U.N. re­minds us again of the role of ac­ci­dents of his­tory.

In the early 1960s, as a young for­eign ser­vice stu­dent tour­ing the U.S., Ban Ki-moon had a chance to visit the White House, where Pres­i­dent Kennedy spoke to the group.

When Ban Ki-moon be­came sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy found in the JFK Li­brary ar­chives a photo from that event that in­cluded both the for­mer pres­i­dent and Ban Ki-moon, and gave it to the sec­re­tary-gen­eral. He has al­ways kept it as a valued me­mento in his of­fice.

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