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No Obama Announcement on U.N. Post

Q: Did former President Barack Obama announce he’s seeking the U.N. secretary general position?

A: No. There was no announcement. Obama’s office has said a story claiming otherwise is false.


Former President Barack Obama has not announced plans to seek the top position at the United Nations, as an online story claims. It would be major news if he did. 

Yet that claim — shared on multiple websites and across social media in recent months — again surfaced this week, prompting some Facebook users to rightfully flag the report as potentially false.

“Obama Announces Bid To Become UN Secretary General,” reads the April 12 headline on the website usanews24h.tk.

While rumors of Obama’s alleged interest in the job date back several years, we could find no evidence of Obama ever making such an announcement. In fact, it’s something that his office has previously denied.

“Obama’s office says the story is not true and he’s happy as a private citizen,” the Associated Press reported in February.

Even if the claims were accurate, such a “bid” would be moot for now. The current U.N. secretary-general, António Guterres of Portugal, took the position last year, replacing South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon. Guterres was appointed to a five-year term, concluding at the end of 2021.

The recycled story on USA News didn’t bother to update the fact that Ban was no longer the secretary-general. It says, “U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s term expires in early 2017, making Obama’s bid for the position a possibility.” But it is no longer a possibility. 

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label false stories flagged by readers on the social media network.


Appointment Process | United Nations Secretary-General.” United Nations. Accessed 13 Apr 2018.

Biography | United Nations Secretary-General.” United Nations. Accessed 13 Apr 2018.

Obama Announces Bid To Become UN Secretary General.” usanews24h.tk. 12 Apr 2018.

Obama not bidding for top United Nations post.” Associated Press. 28 Feb 2018.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018