Ghanaian diplomat and UN Secretary-General Kofi Atta Annan has passed away in a hospital in Switzerland after a short illness.
The admired diplomat served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 1997 to December 2006. Kofi and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.He was also the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
Kofi Annan was born in the Kofandros section of Kumasi in Ghana on 8 April 1938. His twin sister Efua Atta died in 1991.In 1958, Annan 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 1961–1962. 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.
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.
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 for Syria, to help find a resolution to the ongoing conflict there however 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.
The African hero will be remembered for ending the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya where the country was divided into two following the election that year.Peace was restored in the heart of East Africa after Annan sat down with Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki encouraging them to share power and restoring the country to its peaceful state. Annan passed away yesterday in Switzerland after a short illness.He leaves behind his wife and four children.