Last week, the list of potential successors to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
- he will step down at the end of his second five-year term, on December 31st – seemed to have narrowed down to two names: South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon and the current Undersecretary-General Shashi Tharoor, from India – a TEDster: he spoke at TED2005, presenting the TEDPrize recipients with the award and noting that "problems without passport" continue threatening many human lives. Tharoor is also a well-regarded author.
But another candidate just signalled that he will join the race: Ashraf Ghani, the former Finance Minister of Afghanistan – also a TEDster. Ghani has significant UN and World Bank credentials, and he was one of the strongest voices at last year’s TEDGLOBAL in Oxford (picture right), where he offered an articulate vision and impressed everyone speaking about the need to mobilize capital and encourage investments in developing countries: "One dollar of investment has the same impact as $20 of aid", he said (we will soon release his full speech on TEDtalks). That’s a powerful, reform-oriented statement. Whether it’s also a good
electoral platform for getting the top U.N. job, however, remains to be