Kofi Atta Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General, passed away on Saturday, August 18, 2018 in Bern, Switzerland at the age of 80 years. Born on April 18, 1938 in Ghana, Mr. Annan, a soft-spoken and patrician diplomat, projected himself and his organization as the world’s conscience and moral arbiter despite bloody debacles that left indelible stains on his record as a peacekeeper.
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”
“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.”
“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”
Annan was 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. Anna was the first UN secretary General of African origin He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
Born in Kumasi, in then British Gold Coast, Annan went on to study economics at Macalester College, international relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva and management at MIT. Annan joined the UN in 1962, working for the World Health Organization’s Geneva office. He went on to work in several capacities at the UN Headquarters including serving as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping between March 1992 and December 1996. He was appointed as the Secretary-General on 13 December 1996 by the Security Council, and later confirmed by the General Assembly, making him the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself. He was re-elected for a second term in 2001, and was succeeded as Secretary-General by Ban Ki-moon on 1 January 2007.
“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, but was largely exonerated of personal corruption. After the end of his term as UN Secretary-General, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development. In 2012, Annan was the UN–Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, 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, Annan was appointed to lead a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis” Wikipedia.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of the death, in Berne, Switzerland, of one of our greatest compatriots” – Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“Kofi Annan lived well and worked for global peace, security and sustainable development in very challenging times. A proud son of Ghana and Africa” – Former Ghana Pres. John Dramani Mahama.
“He embodied the mission of the United Nations like few others. He has had broken barriers and he never stopped his pursuit of a better world. His sense of our common humanity always informed his outreach to the community of nations.” – Former U.S. president Barack Obama.
“The world has lost not only a great African diplomat and humanitarian but also a conscience keeper of international peace and security” – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“An inspiration, an unwavering internationalist. He will be remembered for, among other accomplishments, the Millennium Development Goals, which, for the first time, set global targets on issues such as poverty and child mortality.” – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“He devoted his life to making the world a more peaceful place and worked tirelessly to unite us” – United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.
“He inspired me and many others with his ideas, his firm convictions and, not least, his charisma. In our present time, in which the common search for solutions to global problems is more urgent than ever, we will greatly miss Kofi Annan’s voice – German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Mourn the passing of my old friend and inspiration. The greatest recognition we can give Kofi Annan is to keep his legacy and his spirit alive. It has never been more important than in today’s world” – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“We will never forget his calm and resolute look, nor his strength in battles” – France’s President Emmanuel Macron.
“He made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into” – Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May.
“His warmth should never be mistaken for weakness. The U.N. and the world have lost one of their giants” – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
“He was a titan amongst world statesman who saw wrong and righted it” – Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
“We are devastated. Africa and the world has lost a special human being – Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“An unexpected and devastating loss. We give great thanks to god for him” – Former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“He gave hope to the voiceless; my friend, my hero, my inspiration” – Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed, the U.N. deputy secretary-general.
“I sincerely admired his wisdom and courage as well as his ability to make balanced decisions even under the most dire and critical circumstances. Russians will keep the memory of him forever” – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
“A towering global leader and an unwavering champion for peace, justice and rule of law. Rest in peace, my dear old friend” – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“In a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss, becomes even more painful” – Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, U.N.’s top human rights official.
“He was warm, compassionate & intelligent, exuding dignity and grace” – Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty Int’l.
“International leader, wise mentor, valuable adviser, good friend, role model. We at UNHCR — and millions of others around the world — will miss him very much” – U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi.
“His quiet advice on how best to defuse impending crises was in constant demand from all corners of the globe, in particular from Africa”- the Elder’s deputy chair Gro Harlem Brundtland.