Kofi Annan departed at 80

Former UN Sec Gen Kofi Annan is departed.
Former UN Sec Gen Kofi Annan is departed.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan dies at 80

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Annan

Kofi Atta Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation. He also presided over as the Chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.

Early Life of Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan at UN Headquarters
Kofi Annan at UN Headquarters

Kofi Atta Annan was born on 8th of April 1938 in Gold Coast, Ghana.  Annan was a graduate in economics and of management from MIT. He started working at the World’s Health Organisation in 1962. He has also served as the Under Secretary General at UN for peacekeeping. Kofi got married to Titi Alakija in 1965 but later got divorced in 1983. Soon after he married to Nane Lagergren in 1984.
In 1983 he became the director of administrative management services of the UN Secretariat in New York. In the late 1980s, Kofi Annan was appointed as an Assistant Secretary-General of the UN in three consecutive positions: Human Resources, Management and Security Coordinator (1987–1990); Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Controller (1990–1992); and Peacekeeping Operations (March 1993 – December 1996). 

Secretary General of the United Nations

The Selection

In 1996, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali ran unopposed for a second term. Although he won 14 of the 15 votes on the Security Council, he was vetoed by the United States. After four meetings of the Security Council, Boutros-Ghali suspended his candidacy. He became the only Secretary-General ever to be denied a second term. Annan was the leading candidate to replace him, beating Amara Essy by one vote in the first round. However, France vetoed Annan four times before finally abstaining. The UN Security Council recommended Annan on 13 December 1996. Confirmed four days later by the vote of the General Assembly, he started his first term as Secretary-General on 1 January 1997.

Due to Boutros-Ghali’s overthrow, a second Annan term would give Africa the office of Secretary-General for three consecutive terms. In 2001, the agreed to support Annan for a second term in return for the African Group’s support for an Asian Secretary-General in the 2006 selection. The Security Council recommended Kofi Annan for a second term on 27 June 2001. The General Assembly approved his reappointment on 29 June 2001.

After Appointment 

As the Secretary-General, Annan reformed the UN bureaucracy; worked to combat HIV, especially in Africa; and launched the UN Global Compact. He was criticized for not expanding the Security Council and faced calls for resignation after an investigation into the Oil-for-Food Programme. After leaving the UN, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development. In 2012, Annan was the UN–Arab League Joint Special Representative forSyria, to help find a resolution to the ongoing conflict there. Annan quit after becoming frustrated with the UN’s lack of progress with regard to conflict resolution. In September 2016, Kofi Annan was appointed to lead a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis.

Kofi Annan described his greatest achievement as the Millennium Development Goals. For the first time these goals set global targets on issues such as poverty and child mortality. However, Annan was not immune from criticism. His critics blamed him for the UN’s failure to halt the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s. Kofi Annan was the head of the organisation’s peacekeeping operations then.

He died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland in the early hours of Saturday with his wife, Nane, and three children Ama, Kojo and Nina, by his side. He had retired to Geneva and later lived in a Swiss village.

Kofi Annan foundation issued a statement on his Twitter account on Saturday that described him as a “global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world”.


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