Kofi Annan: Son of Ghana and the world’s top diplomat passes away but his legacy lives on

  • August 20, 2018

‘To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.’

 

Kofi Atta Annan was no ordinary man. He chose to live a life of constant struggle as he fought for equality and humanity that knew no divisions. He knew he wanted a peaceful and fair world and the reason he wanted to get there was for the benefit of the entire human race.

The great humanitarian passed away on Saturday, August 18th, after a brief illness. He was 80.

Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana. He studied economics at Macalester College, international relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva and management at MIT. 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.

His face was awash with wisdom gained from years of experience – having served two terms as the Secretary General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. He played a leading role in mobilizing the international community in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

In 2001, UN and Annan were awarded the Peace Prize “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world,” having revitalized the UN and for having given priority to human rights.

He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a solution to the conflict. The career diplomat died in hospital in the Swiss city of Bern. He had been living near Geneva for several years.

Condolences have been pouring in ever since the Kofi Annan Foundation announced the unfortunate news of Annan’s demise. In the statement, the foundation referred to Annan as a ‘global statesman’ and ‘an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.’

The statement noted that Kofi Annan was ‘a son of Ghana and felt a social 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).’

The current UN chief, Antonio Guterres hailed him as ‘a guiding force for good’ and a ‘proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.’

‘He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world.  In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all us.’

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