Kofi Annan, the first person from sub-Saharan Africa to become UN Secretary General has passed away on August 18, 2018, “after a short illness,” The Kofi Annan Foundation confirmed in a Twitter post on Saturday.
Annan, a native of Ghana, served as the 7thUN Secretary-General for 9 years from 1997 to 2006 during which “he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law” according to the foundation’s tribute.
In 2001, the former Secretary-General was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with the United Nations “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world and was remembered in the tribute as a “global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer, more peaceful world.’
Kofi Annan, who was born in 1938 in Ghana, attended the Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA after which he entered the World Health Organization in Geneva as a low-ranking officer in 1962. What he thought was a short stint turned out to be a lifelong career leading to him becoming the first Sec-Gen to rise from within the United Nations’ ranks.
In 1997, the year he was elected to the highest office in the UN, Annan became a Champion of Human Rights, urging the organization to protect people whose governments had turned on.
In a statement released by the United Nations, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world…he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us.”