Kofi Annan, former UNSG, dies at 80

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The former secretary of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan has died

He died on Saturday in Bern, Switzerland at the age of 80.

The news which broken on his Twitter handle reads: “It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness… pic.twitter.com/42nGOxmcPZ

— Kofi Annan (@KofiAnnan) August 18, 2018

Born in the Kofandros section of Kumasi in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) on April 8, 1938, Annan attended the elite Mfantsipim school, a Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast from 1954 to 1957.

He said that the school taught him “that suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere”.

In 1957, the year Annan graduated from Mfantsipim and in 1958 he began studying economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana.

He received a Ford Foundation grant, enabling him to complete his undergraduate studies in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, in 1961. Annan then completed a diplôme d’études approfondies DEA degree in International Relations at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1961–62. After some years of work experience, he studied at the MIT Sloan School of Management (1971–72) in the Sloan Fellows program and earned a master’s degree in management.

The late diplomat was fluent in English, French, Akan, some Kru languages and other African languages.

In 1962, Annan started working as a Budget Officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations (UN).

From 1974 to 1976, he worked as the Director of Tourism in Ghana. In 1980 he became the head of personnel for the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. In 1983 he became the director of administrative management services of the UN Secretariat in New York.

In the late 1980s, 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).

When the late UN secretary general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali established the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 1992, Annan was appointed to the new department as Deputy to then Under Secretary-General Marrick Goulding. Annan was subsequently appointed to succeed Goulding and assumed the office of USG DPKO in March 1993.

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 deadlocked meetings of the Security Council, Boutros-Ghali suspended his candidacy, becoming 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 December 13, 1996.

Confirmed four days later by the vote of the General Assembly, he started his first term as Secretary-General on January 1, 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 Asia-Pacific Group 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 Annan for a second term on June 27, 2001, and the General Assembly approved his reappointment on June 29, 2001.

On September 19, 2006, Annan gave a farewell address to world leaders gathered at the UN headquarters in New York, in anticipation of his retirement on December 31.

In the speech he outlined three major problems of “an unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law”, which he believes “have not resolved, but sharpened” during his time as Secretary-General. He also pointed to violence in Africa, and the Arab–Israeli conflict as two major issues warranting attention.

On December 11, 2006, in his final speech as Secretary-General, delivered at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, Annan recalled Truman’s leadership in the founding of the United Nations.

He called for the United States to return to President Truman’s multilateralist foreign policies, and to follow Truman’s credo that “the responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world”.

He also said that the United States must maintain its commitment to human rights, “including in the struggle against terrorism

In 2007, Annan established the Kofi Annan Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organization that works to promote better global governance and strengthen the capacities of people and countries to achieve a fairer, more peaceful world.

The Foundation believes that fair and peaceful societies rest on three pillars: Peace and Security, Sustainable Development and Human Rights and the Rule of Law, and they have made it their mission to mobilise the leadership and the political resolve needed to tackle threats to these three pillars ranging from violent conflict to flawed elections and climate change, with the aim of achieving a fairer, more peaceful world.

On February 23, 2012, Annan was appointed as the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, in an attempt to end the civil war taking place.

In addition, Annan also became involved with several organizations with both global and African focuses, including the following:

*United Nations Foundation, Member of the Board of Directors (2008-2018)

*University of Ghana, Chancellor (2008-2018)

*School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University, Global Fellow (2009)

*The Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University, Fellow

*Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Li Ka Shing Professor (2009-2018

*Global Centre for Pluralism, Member of the Board of Directors (2010-2018)

*Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, Chairman of the Prize Committee (2007-2018)

*Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Chairman (2007-2018)

*Global Humanitarian Forum, President (2007-2018)

Annan died on 18 August 18, 2018 in Bern, Switzerland at the age of 80.

With Wikipedia report

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