(1938 – 2018)
KOFI ATTA ANNAN
Kofi Atta Annan, a diplomat from the West African country of Ghana, was the first to emerge from the ranks of United Nations (UN) staff to serve as the Secretary-General of the UN. He served as the seventh UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006. The UN and Annan were jointly awarded the The Nobel Peace Prize 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world”. While he was the Secretary-General, he prioritized the establishment of a comprehensive reforms programme aimed at revitalizing the UN. UN had traditionally been working in the areas of development and he worked for further strengthening this work. A passionate advocate of human rights, and a strong believer in the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity, Annan wanted to bring the UN closer to the people by reaching out to new partners, and thereby restore public confidence in the organization. He had a major part to play in the establishment of two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council in 2005. He also played a pivotal role in the creation of the Global Funds to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He strongly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Iran’s nuclear programme. After his retirement from the UN in 2006, he returned to Ghana where he was involved with a number of African as well as global organizations.