United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan (Photo taken on March 29, 2005 at UN headquarters in New York/ VCG)
New York (People’s Daily) - Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate passed away at age 80, the Kofi Annan Foundation announced on Saturday with “immense sadness” in a statement.
Annan’s home country Ghana has declared a week of national mourning.
“I have directed that, in his honour, Ghana’s national flag will fly at half-mast across the country and in all of Ghana’s diplomatic missions across the world, from Monday, 20th August, 2018, for one week.” Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo said.
Many world leaders and diplomats, including current UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, have paid tributes to this former UN chief.
António Guterres has been leading the tributes to Annan, describing Mr. Annan as “a guiding force for good” and “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.” Guterres said.
“A great leader and reformer of the UN, he made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into.” Theresa May said, “My thoughts and condolences are with his family.”
Miroslav Lajčák, the President of UN General Assembly, also expressed his sincere condolences to the family and friends of this former UN Secretary General.
“We mourn the loss of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: a great statesman, an internationalist, and a visionary champion for multilateralism, peace, development and human rights.” he said.
Born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1938, Annan studied at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, and completed his undergraduate work in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1961. In 1961-1962, he undertook graduate studies at the Institute of International Affairs in Geneva, and in 1972 earned a Master of Science degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. Annan is fluent in English, French and several African languages.
Annan joined the UN in 1962, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006, and was the first to rise from within the ranks of the United Nations staff. Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the United Nations in 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.”