|Famous as||Secretary General of the United Nations|
|Born on||08 April 1938|
|Born in||Kumasi, Ghana|
|Works & Achievements||Nobel peace Prize (2001)|
Kofi Annan was born on April 8, 1938 to Victoria and Henry Reginald in Kumasi, central Ghana, in Africa. His name indicates his birthday and place in his family. Kofi means a boy born on a Friday, and Annan denotes that he was the fourth child of his family. Annan is descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his family and they were a part of the country's elite. His father Henry Reginald was a well-educated person and worked for a long period as an export manager for the Lever Brothers cocoa company. Since childhood, Annan became accustomed to both traditional and modern ways of life.
After receiving his early education at a leading boarding school in Ghana, Annan attended the elite Mfantsipim School, a Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast. In 1957, Annan graduated from Mfantsipim and the same year Ghana gained independence from Britain. It became the first African nation to gain independence from European colonists. Since 1960 Ghana has been a republic within the British Commonwealth.
Shortly after completing his undergraduate work in economics at Macalester College in 1961, Annan headed for Geneva, Switzerland. There, he completed his degree in International Relations at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales. As a 1971- 1972 Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Annan received a Master of Science degree in management. Annan has a very good command over English, French, Kru, Akan, and other African languages.
Association with the United Nations
In 1962, Annan joined the staff of the World Health Organization as a Budget Officer. In 1974 Annan left the job and for a brief period served as managing director of the Ghana Tourist Development Company. After spending two years at the tourism company, he returned to international diplomacy and re-joined the United Nations in 1976. In 1983, Annan was posted to the UN Headquarters at New York. There, he held many senior positions and ranks.
He was appointed Assistant Secretary-General in Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator (1987-1990), Assistant Secretary-General Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Controller (1990-1992) and Assistant Secretary-General Peacekeeping Operations (March 1993 February 1994). He was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping at a time when nearly 70,000 military and civilian personnel were deployed in UN operations around the world. From 1976 to 1983, Annan worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva.
During the Gulf War in 1990, Annan facilitated the repatriation of international staff and citizens of Western countries from Iraq after it invaded Kuwait. He subsequently led initial negotiations with Baghdad on the sale of oil to fund humanitarian relief. From November 1995 to March 1996, Annan served as the Secretary-General's Special Representative to the former Yugoslavia serving for five months in that capacity before returning to his duties as Under-Secretary-General in April 1996.
Head of the United Nations
On 13 December 1996, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) urged Kofi Annan to replace previous Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt. Annan’s first term as Secretary-General commenced on 1 January 1997. Earlier, the United States placed a veto on Ghali’s second term. Kofi Annan used his office in settling several delicate political situations including resolving the stalemate between Libya and the Security Council in 1999 and to forge an international response to violence in East Timor. He was responsible for certifying Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and in 2006, his efforts contributed to securing a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah. Also in 2006, he mediated a settlement of the dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula through implementation of the judgement of the International Court of Justice.
Annan's Secretary-Generalship was renewed on January 1, 2002. In an interview to a private news channel, in 2004, Annan said that United Nations had urged both the United States and United Kingdom not to invade Iraq without the support of the United Nations. Therefore, "from the point of view of United Nation’s Charter the invasion and occupation was indeed, illegal”. While treating the Darfur crisis, Kofi Annan favored sending a UN peacekeeping mission force by, replacing the present African Union peacekeeping mission. It was also at Annan's urging that, in 2005, Member States established two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. On 21 March 2005, Kofi Annan tabled a progress report, “In Larger Freedom”, in the UN General Assembly. Annan, talked about a number of reforms for the United Nations, specifically stressing on the expansion of Security Council.
He is married to Nane Annan, of Sweden, a lawyer and painter who has a great interest in understanding the work of the United Nations in the field. Two issues of particular concern to her are HIV/AIDS and education for women. She has also written a book for children about the United Nations. The Annans have three children.
Post United Nations Term
Annan, even after his retirement from the United Nations on 19 September 2006, has been in touch with several global organizations that focus in establishing peace and democracy in the war-hit regions. In 2007, Annan was chosen to lead the new formation of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and appointed as the President of the Global Humanitarian Forum in Geneva. Annan currently serves on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation, a public charity created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes. In 2008, Kofi Annan was appointed the Chancellor of the University of Ghana.
For his contribution as a regular staff of the United Nations Kofi Annan was honored by numerous organizations across the globe. Besides the honorary doctorates, Annan received the following awards:
Ex-General of Canada, Romeo Dallaire, who was heading the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, claimed that Annan was overly inactive in his response to the initial stage of genocide. He said that Annan not only held back the UN troops from intervening to resolve the conflict but also did not provide the required logistical and material support.
Questions were raised again in 2002 when the United Nations Security Council renewed Annan's Secretary-Generalship on January 1, 2002. It was an unusual policy as the “chair” usually rotates around the continents, with two terms each. And, since Annan's predecessor Ghali was also an African, normally Annan would have served only one term.
1938: April 8: Birth of Kofi Annan in Ghana, Africa
1957: Annan graduated from Mfantsipim
1957: Ghana attained the “status of Republic”
1961: Kofi took admission in Institut universitaire des hautes études internationales to study Economics
1962: Annan joined the Staff of World Health Organisation
1972: Master’s degree from MIT Sloan School of Management
1974: Annan left the UN and joined a tourism company in Ghana
1976: Annan returned to the United Nations
1983: Kofi Annan posted at the United Nations Headquarters, New York
1987: Annan Appointed Secretary General Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator
1990: Annan became Secretary General of the Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Controller
1993: Annan was appointed Secretary General of the Peacekeeping Operations
1995: He was made a Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Yugoslavia.
1996: Annan appointed as Under Secretary General of the United Nations
1996: He became the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations.
1997: His first term as Secretary-General commenced.
2002: The United Nations Security Council renewed his term.
2006: Annan retired from the United Nations.