Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General And Nobel Laureate Passes Away At 80

The Logical Indian Crew

August 18th, 2018 / 11:11 PM

Kofi Annan

Image Credits: Kofi Annan/ Wikipedia

Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel prize laureate, Kofi Annan died at 80. According to Kofi Annan’s official Twitter account, he passed away after a short illness at a hospital in Bern Switzerland on Saturday, August 18 2018. The statement released on his Twitter account quotes, “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.”

 


Early Life

Born in 1938, while Ghana was still under British rule, to a wealthy affluent family, Kofi Atta Annan also had a twin sister named Effua Atta. Both his grandfathers were traditional leaders, and his father became a provincial governor, still under British Rule. Two days before his 19th birthday, Ghana won independence. This had a significant impact on the young man and influenced his decisions later on. He was once quoted as saying, “I walked away as a young man convinced that change is possible, even radical revolutionary change.”

After his graduation from the Macalester College in the US, he landed his very first job at United Nations as the budget officer with the World Health Organization. Touted as the Champion of peace, he is remembered for being unfailingly friendly and courteous. Perhaps these are the characteristics that helped him in a rise in ranks at the UN.

Controversies

Annan faced the biggest scandals in his career even before he became the UN Secretary-General. While he was the head of peacekeeping in 1994, he was faced with the genocide of 8,00,000 ethnic Tutsis in Rwanda and 1995, Serbia forces in Bosnia massacred 8000 Muslims. Annan and his department were under fire for both these incidents, when it was alleged that his department had received information about the Rwandan genocide and they decided to ignore the warnings. During the 10th anniversary of the genocide, Annan acknowledged his mistake like a true leader, adding,”I realised after the genocide that there was more than I could, and should, have done to sound the alarm and rally support. This painful memory, along with that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has influenced much of my thinking, and many of my actions, as secretary-general.”


Road to UN

Kofi Annan, who is the first black African to head the United Nations, was also the first to rise from within the ranks among the UN staff. He became the seventh UN secretary General and led the UN from 1997 to 2006, serving for two terms.  It was his humanitarian work and his continuous fight against global terrorism, to build a peaceful world, that won him the Prestigious Nobel Peace prize in 2001.

According to CNN after he stepped down from UN, in 2007, he became a member of The Elders, which is a group formed by Nelson Mandela, constituting of a dozen world leaders and humanitarian activists. By 2013 he was elected the chairman of this group. In 2007, he started the Kofi Annan foundation; a nonprofit focused on global sustainable development, peace and security.

During his time as the UN Secretary General, he spearheaded several initiatives that were widely applauded. During the HIV/AIDS pandemic of 2001, he started a five-point Call to Action initiative, in which he proposed establishing a global AIDS and health fund aimed at helping the developing countries through the crisis. He played a significant role in aiding the General Assembly and security council to fight against terrorism, after the September 2001 terror attack. He was adamantly against the 2003 invasion of Iraq and told BBC on 2004 that the war was illegal as it did not conform to the UN charter. In 2008 he played a key role in getting the Kenyan president and opposition leader to agree on a government based on power-sharing. In 2012 he was appointed by UN  as the joint special envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis. Although the Syrian president accepted his six-point peace plan, they did not fully comply with the ceasefire terms on the plan.


World is Mourning

Several world leaders and humanitarians have offered their condolences through the media. Former US President Barack Obama in his statement said, “Long after he had broken barriers, Kofi never stopped his pursuit of a better world, and made time to motivate and inspire the next generation of leaders.”



Filippo Grandi UN high commissioner for refugees tweeted “We at UNHCR – and millions of others around the world – will miss him very much.”, calling him a good friend and a wise mentor.

Prime Minister Of India, Narendra Modi also paid his tribute to Kofi Annan, tweeting about his significant contribution to MDG’s ( Millennium Development Goals).

 


As a developing country, India has benefited immensely from the initiatives during his leadership at the UN. Coming from a third world country, he always had a soft spot for developing countries and worked tirelessly towards their betterment and empowerment. Most of his campaigns and initiatives have been for this mission.

The Logical Indian pays tribute to a true hero, whose unwavering fight for global peace will always be a pathfinder for the coming generations May his legacy live on and inspire future world leaders, as Kofi Annan quoted “suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere”.

 

Also Read: Kofi Annan Writes To CM Kejriwal, Applauds Delhi Government’s Health Initiatives


Contributors

Written by : Bindiya (Intern)

Edited by : Shraddha Goled

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