THE global community was jolted when former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, Kofi Annan, passed away on Saturday, August 18, 2018. In recognition of the greatness of the Ghana-born diplomat, the world has befittingly lavished eulogies on him for his unquantifiable contributions to the pursuit of a better world.
While announcing his death, the Kofi Annan Foundation described him as “a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world …; wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did. He will be greatly missed by so many around the world…”.
Affirming this sentiment, the current Scribe of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said: “Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good”, adding that in many ways, he was synonymous with the United Nations as “he rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination”.
Kofi Annan personalised the African dream. He promoted development in Africa as the Chairman of the Africa Progress Panel and leader of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA. He was also in the forefront for fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the UN and served from January 1996 to December 2006, having succeeded another African, Egypt’s Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He was the first Black person to attain the position of the world’s top diplomat and was credited with reforming the UN amidst rapidly-unfolding globalisation.
After leaving the UN, Annan continued to work in support of activities to promote the cause of peace across the globe through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation, and The Elders, an international organisation founded by the late Nelson Mandela. He also served UN panels on the war in Syria and the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
Born in Kumasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938, Annan studied at the University of Science and Technology in Ghana and completed his undergraduate work in Economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1961. He later did his graduate studies at the Institute of International Affairs in Geneva, and in 1972 earned a Master of Science degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. He and his wife, Nane, had three children: Ama, Kojo and Nina.
We join the global community in celebrating this great and iconic son of Africa who served the global community without blemish. He will forever be remembered for his services to humanity.