I've enjoyed dear Kofi. He was even my boss for a coupla months in my life, and definitely wasn't into micro-managing me. (Granted I was about 10 tiers under him and there is a chance he has never heard mention of my name...yet!) But now he is off to his own form of luxurious "Houghton" retirement house, to kick back, suip a few cocktails and ponder life's meanings. And well-deserved in my opinion. Well done Mr. Annan!
We, meanwhile, must look forward. And so here, in no particular order, are his possible shoe-fillers: (Drumroll please....)
Contestant 1: BAN KI-MOON hails from South Korea. He currently is Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is known as a 'career diplomat' with experience of UN systems.
"He has long been involved in issues of peace and security, development, democracy and human rights - the necessary qualifications to accomplish the UN's ideals and goals." But have he & his country been TOO non-commital their approach to North Korea's human rights record?!
Contestant 2: JAYANTHA DHANAPALA of Sri Lanka might be a bit old for the role (67), but this means he has 40 years of diplomatic experience behind him.
He is particulalry interested in organisational reform & achieving the Millennium Development Goals set by the UN.
Contestant 3: PRINCE ZEID AL-HUSSEIN is royalty in Jordan. He also is Jordan's UN ambassador, is a widely respected diplomat, is but 42, a former UN peacekeeper, and would be the first Muslim to head the UN.He is "familiar with the UN but not of the UN".
He played a key role in setting up the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and has focused on peacekeeping issues at the UN and world-wide abuse and sexual exploitation.
Contestant 4: SURAKIART SATHIRATHAI is Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister. He has the official backing of all 10 nations in Asia's regional bloc. At the tender age of 48 he already has been foreign minister, the country's youngest ever finance minister, and has impressive private sector experience. But is he not shooting for the top UN job a bit too soon?
Dr Surakiart has said he is ready to take difficult decisions on reform and believes in multilateralism.
Contestant 5: India's SHASHI THAROOR is a career diplomat and worked in the UN for nearly 30 years. He is one of the top favourites. (He also is a prize-winning author!)
He is focused on speeding up the deployment of UN peacekeepers to conflict areas as part of UN reforms, and poverty eradication, children's education, mainly for girls, and healthcare, especially in Africa which is prone to natural disasters and diseases. But his UN experience may count against him- Some say that a senior insider may not be the person to deliver the radical reforms that they believe the organisation needs.
I personally like the prince. But maybe I am just a sucker for royalty. Plus, I think, it would do the world a great deal of good to have a Muslim heading this world body.