U Thant (1909-1974)

“Third secretary-general of the United Nations (1961-1971), the first Asian to hold the post. Born in Myanmar (Burma), he was educated at the University of Yangon but had to leave before graduating. He taught high school before entering government service. Posted to the U.N. in 1952, he became Burma’s U.N. ambassador in 1957. In 1961 he became acting secretary-general after Dag Hammarskjold’s death; he became permanent secretary-general in 1962. In his two full terms (1962-1971), he played a diplomatic role in the Cuban missile crisis, devised a plan to end the Congolese civil war (1962), and sent peacekeeping forces to Cyprus (1964).”

Stevens, Mark A., Ed. The Merriam Webster Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

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