U Thant

Country: Myanmar (Burma)

Tenure: 1961-1971

Biography: http://www.un.org/News/ossg/sg/stories/thant_bio.asp

Past Positions:

  • UN Secretary-General (1961-1971)
  • Permanent Representative of Burma to the United Nations (1957-1961)
  • Chairman of the United Nations Congo Conciliation Commission and Chairman of the Committee on a United Nations Capital Development Fund (1961)
  • Vice-Presidents of the Assembly’s fourteenth session (1959)
  • Executive Secretary of Burma’s Economic and Social Board, Myanmar (Burma) (1955)
  • Secretary for projects in the Office of the Prime Minister (1953)
  • Secretary to the Government of Burma in the Ministry of Information (1949)
  • Government’s Director of Broadcasting, Myanmar (Burma) (1948)
  • Appointed Press Director of the Government of Burma (1947)
  • Secretary of Burma’s Education Reorganization Committee (1942)
  • Member of Burma’s Textbook Committee and of the Council of National Education, and was an Executive Committee member of the Heads of Schools Association before World War II
  • Headmaster, National High School, Myanmar (Burma) (appointed 1931)


  • Educated at the National High School in Pantanaw, Myanmar (Burma)
  • Attended University College, Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma)

General Information:

  • U Thant died of cancer at the age of 65 on 25 November 1974.
  • Received honorary degrees (LL.D) from numerous universities
  • As Secretary-General he was deeply involved with diffusing the Cuban Missile Crisis and helping to end the Civil War in the Congo
  • During his tenure as Secretary-General many of the UN’s development and environmental agencies, funds, and programmes were established including, the UN Development Programme, UN University, UNCTAD, UNITAR, and the UN Environmental Programme