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The World Mourns Kofi Annan (1938-2018)

Today Ghana mourns another outstanding personality, a pioneer, a unique leader with great influence - Kofi Atta Annan.


He had many accolades - a dedicated son, unrepentant lover, a committed parent, a true statesman, an excellent diplomat, an intelligent democrat, a peace maker, a fine negotiator, and most of all, a mediator par excellence.


The man Kofi Annan having understood the importance of peace building, cooperation between people, nations and the international community dignified himself by working assiduously for these values.


He was not only a treasure to Ghana but to the entire Africa and global world where he exhibited his true statesmanship over the years by word and deed. The first black African to assume the mantle of the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi is easily remembered for how he handled delicate and intractable discussions on conflict resolution, management and transformation. This is because of his unique analysis, interpretation, conflict-management style, in ensuring human security and peace in Africa, Middle East and West, Asia –Pacific, Europe and North America easily come up.


“You cannot have peace without security, and you cannot have security without inclusive development”, said Kofi Annan.


H. E. Kofi Atta Busumuru Annan, was born a twin on Friday, April 8, 1938, at Kumasi in then Gold Coast (Ghana), to the late Mr. Henry Reginald Annan and Madam Victoria Annan. Mr Annan who came from a prominent Fante chieftain lost his twin sister Efua Atta in 1991.


Education


Kofi Annan had his early education at the Mfantsipim School at Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana in 1957, the same year Ghana gained independence from the British Colonial rule.


He had his tertiary education at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 1958, where he read Economics and completed his undergraduate studies at Macalester College, United States, in St. Paul, Minnesota.


From 1961-1962, he had his Postgraduate Degree in International Relations at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

He also took part in the Sloan Fellowship Programme and obtained a master’s degree in Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management from 1971-72.


Career


Kofi Annan began his career with the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations (UN) health agency in 1962, as a budget officer. After which he then came to Ghana to work as the manager of Ghana Tourist Development Company in Accra from 1974 - 1976, before going back to re-join the UN in 1980. He rose to become the head of personnel of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. In 1983, he served as the head of the Administrative Management Services of the UN Secretariat in New York and subsequently became an Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for UN Systems in 1987 and Assistant Secretary-General for Program Planning, Budget and Finance.


After the establishment of Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in 1992, Kofi Annan was appointed as the Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General Marrack Goulding and in 1993 following his distinguished service; he was made the UN Under-Secretary-General.


Upon the recommendation of the Security Council, Mr. Kofi Annan was appointed the Secretary-General of UN in 1996, a duty he carried out with distinction and admiration of the world.


His official duties which started from January 1, 1997 to December 1, 2006 saw the world body undertaking a number of far reaching reforms. These included the larger freedoms that addressed issues like terrorism, financing for development, enlargement of the UN Security Council and replacing the Human Rights commission.


After his tenure as the UN boss, Mr Annan became a special Representative of Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia and Special Envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He became the UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria. His other missions included assignments at Addis Ababa, Cairo, Ismailia (Egypt) and Iraq. He also engaged in hostage negotiations and subsequently led the UN to negotiate with Iran on possible sale of oil for purchase of humanitarian aid.


He served on different board of trustees such as Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, California.


Mr Annan served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UN International School in New York and as a Governor of the International School in Geneva. Furthermore, Mr Annan chaired the UN administrative, Management and Financial Board, Secretary-General’s Task Force for Peacekeeping, and the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund.


Mr Annan was involved in the smooth democratic transition from Military to Civilian rule in the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1998. He also supported East Timor for its Independence from Indonesia. Apart from that he also mediated between Nigeria and Cameroon in 2006 over their border dispute on the Bakassi Peninsula. He supported sending UN Peacekeeping Mission to work with the Sudan government in 2003, to fight rebel groups.


He again chaired The Elders; an international non-governmental organization of public figures, working together for human rights issues and global peace.


Awards


Mr Annan was awarded a Trustee Distinguished Service Award in 1994. Another award was the honorary Doctor of Public Service given by the Ceder Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


Spectacularly, in 2001, Mr Annan received the Noble Peace Prize by Nobel Committee for his efforts in revitalizing the UN and his fight to make the world more peaceful.


In acknowledgement of his qualities as s a champion of world Peace and a motivator, the Ghana Armed Forces in 1998 named the International Peacekeeping Training Center after him, hence the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC).


Consequently, he partnered the KAIPTC to establish the West Africa Commission on Drugs to address the growing drugs menace in West Africa.


On the Friday of August 16, 2012, the then United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Atta Annan was given the title Busumuru Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the Asantehene’s Highest title in recognition of his service to humanity and the honour done to Ghana.


In appreciation of his selflessness, transparency, honesty, truth that has given hope to many in Africa and rest of the world, Mr. Annan was honoured with the title Chancellor of University of Ghana, Legon, from 2008-2018.


His legacy and achievements would continue to live on and inspire many generations to come.


Kofi Annan advocated for human rights and believed in universal values of equality. He fought to bring the UN closer to the grassroots people by helping through humanitarian activities such the Kofi Annan foundation, creation of the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria among others. The former UN boss believed in Gender equality and therefore argued strongly that it is a precondition for reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.


Mr. Annan left behind a wife, Nane and three children Kojo, Ama and Nina.


May his Gentle soul rest in peace.


Source: ISD (Aliyah Bayali)