Kofi Annan, who passed away on August 18, at the age of 80, was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the intergovernmental organisation for two terms reigning from 1997 till 2006.
Born on 8 April 1938, Annan was the co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel peace prize along with the United Nations. He was also the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation and chairman of an International organisation founded by Nelson Mandela called ‘The Elders.’
Annan began his stint at the UN as a Budget officer for the World Health Organization in 1962. He went on to work in various capacities at the UN, which included serving as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping between 1992-96. He was then appointed as the Secretary-General, making him the first black African to assume the office of world’s top diplomat and also the first to be elected from the UN staff itself.
A passionate advocate of human rights, he had a major role in the formation of two new intergovernmental bodies in 2005 within the UN: the peacebuilding commission and the Human Rights Council.
Annan played a pivotal role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis during his term at the UN. In 1999, he launched his ‘Global Compact’ initiative became the world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility.
He was re-elected for a second term in 2001 and was later succeeded by South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-moon in 2007.
Kofi Annan is survived by his wife Nane and two children.