The United Nations is an international organization that brings together representatives from countries around the world to promote peace, security, and cooperation. With so many different languages spoken by its member states, it is no surprise that the United Nations has produced some of the most famous polyglots in the world. In this article, we will explore the lives and accomplishments of some of these remarkable individuals.
Ban Ki-moon served as the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 2007 to 2016. Born in South Korea, Ban Ki-moon is fluent in Korean, English, French, and Spanish. He also has some knowledge of German.
As Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon was known for his strong commitment to multilingualism and language diversity. He often made speeches in several different languages to reach out to as many people as possible. He also encouraged the use of all six official languages of the United Nations - Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish - in official meetings and documents.
Catherine Pollard is a Guyanese diplomat who has served as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at the United Nations since 2015. She is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and has a working knowledge of Dutch and Portuguese.
Pollard has worked for the United Nations for over 30 years, serving in a variety of positions in New York, Geneva, and Nairobi. In her current role, she oversees the United Nations’ budget, human resources, and procurement functions.
Kofi Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. He was fluent in English, French, and several African languages, including Akan, Fante, and Twi.
Annan was known for his dedication to multilingualism and language diversity. He believed that language was essential to building bridges between different cultures and communities, and often used his language skills to connect with people from around the world.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is a Mauritanian diplomat who served as the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen from 2015 to 2018. He is fluent in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.
During his tenure as Special Envoy, Ould Cheikh Ahmed played a key role in facilitating negotiations between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels. He used his language skills to communicate with both sides and build trust between them.
John W. Ashe was an Antiguan diplomat who served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly from 2013 to 2014. He was fluent in English, French, and Spanish.
As President of the General Assembly, Ashe worked to promote language diversity and multilingualism within the United Nations. He often used his language skills to communicate with delegates from different countries and build consensus on important issues.
The United Nations has produced some of the most famous polyglots in the world. These individuals have used their language skills to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations. They have also shown us that language diversity is a strength, not a weakness, and that multilingualism is essential to building bridges between different cultures and communities. As we continue to face global challenges in the 21st century, we can look to these polyglots as examples of how language can be used to build a more peaceful and connected world.