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Kofi Annan Former United Nations Secretary General Dies At 80 years

koffi annan

Former Ghanaian UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work has died at the age of 80

Born in the Kofandros section of Kumasi in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) on 8 April 1938. His twin sister Efua Atta, who died in 1991, shared the middle name Atta, which in the Akan means ‘twin’. Kofi Annan is said to have died this 18th day of August after a brief illness. The Ghanaian national died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of the morning.

kofi annan

A statement from the Kofi Annan Foundation said: “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.

“His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days.”

Mr Annan was the first black African to become UN secretary-general and served two terms from 1997 to 2006. His tenure coincided with the Iraq War and the global HIV/Aids pandemic. Current UN chief Antonio Guterres described his predecessor as “a guiding force for good”. He said: “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. “He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination”.

“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor.”

Mr Annan filled a number of roles in his long diplomatic career at the UN from peacekeeping operations to senior managerial positions and was the first secretary general to emerge from the ranks of the organisation’s staff.

Heand later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

In 1990 he negotiated the release of hostages in Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait.

Five years later, he oversaw the transition of the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to the multinational Implementation Force (IFOR), a UN peacekeeping organisation. In this transfer of responsibility, operations in the former Yugoslavia were turned over to NATO.

The Kofi Annan Foundation described him as a “global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world”.

The statement said: “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.”

The statement added Mr Annan, who succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali as UN leader, was a “son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa”

In recognition of his abilities, Mr Annan was appointed secretary-general, the top post of the UN, by the UN General Assembly in December 1996.

Mr Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with the UN in 2001 “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”.

The Nobel citation commended him for bringing new life to the peacekeeping organisation and highlighted the UN’s fight for civil rights.

Following is the full text of the statement announcing Kofi Annan’s death by his foundation:

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. His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days.

Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

After stepping down from the United Nations, he continued to work tirelessly in the cause of peace through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela. He was an inspiration to young and old alike.

Kofi Annan was a son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa. He was particularly committed to African development and deeply engaged in many initiatives, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and his early leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

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, as well as his staff at the Foundation and his many former colleagues in the United Nations system. He will remain in our hearts forever.

The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning. Arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later.

 

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