George Frost Kennan (February 16, 1904–March 17, 2005) was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War.
In the late 1940s, his writings inspired the Truman Doctrine and the U.S. foreign policy of "containing" the Soviet Union, thrusting him into a lifelong role as a leading authority on the Cold War. His "Long Telegram" from Moscow in 1946 and the subsequent 1947 article "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" argued that the Soviet regime was inherently expansionist and that its influence had to be "contained" in areas of vital strategic importance to the United States. These texts quickly emerged as foundation texts of the Cold War, expressing the Truman administration's new anti-Soviet Union policy. Kennan also played a leading role in the development of definitive Cold War programs and institutions, notably the Marshall Plan.
On 13 December 1996, Annan was recommended by the United Nations Security Council to be Secretary-General, and was confirmed four days later by vote of the General Assembly. Annan took the oath of office without delay, starting his first term as Secretary-General on 1 January 1997. Annan replaced outgoing Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt, becoming the first person from a black African nation to serve as Secretary-General.
Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich (15 May 1773 – 11 June 1859) was a German-born Austrian politician and statesman and one of the most important diplomats of his era, serving as the Foreign Minister of the Holy Roman Empire and its successor state, the Austrian Empire, from 1809 until the liberal revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation. One of his first tasks was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian Arch-Duchess Marie Louise. Soon after, however, he engineered Austria's entry into the War of the Sixth Coalition on the Allied side, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau that sent Napoleon into exile and led the Austrian delegation at the Congress of Vienna which divided post-Napoleonic Europe between the major powers. Under his guidance, the "Metternich system" of international congresses continued for another decade as Austria aligned herself with Russia and, to a lesser extent, Prussia. His supporters credit him with presiding over the "Age of Metternich", when international diplomacy helped prevent major wars in Europe.
Zhang Qian (traditional Chinese 張騫; Wade-Giles Chang Ch'ien) was an imperial envoy to Central Asia in the 2nd century BCE, during the time of China'sHan Dynasty. He was the first official diplomat to bring back reliable information about Central Asia to the Chinese imperial court under Emperor Wu of Han. Today Zhang Qian's travels are associated with the major route of transcontinental trade, the Silk Road. In essence, his missions opened up to China the many kingdoms and trade goods from hitherto unknown parts of the world. Zhang Qian's accounts of his explorations of Central Asia are detailed in the Early Han historical chronicles, Records of the Grand Historian or Shiji, compiled by Sima Qian in the 1st century BCE. Today Zhang Qian is considered a national hero for the role he played in opening China to the world of commercial trade.