72 Facts About Kofi Annan


Kofi Atta Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006.


Kofi Annan was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organisation founded by Nelson Mandela.


Kofi Annan studied economics at Macalester College, international relations at the Graduate Institute Geneva, and management at MIT.


Kofi Annan joined the UN in 1962, working for the World Health Organization's Geneva office.


Kofi Annan went on to work in several capacities at the UN Headquarters, including serving as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping between March 1992 and December 1996.


Kofi Annan was appointed secretary-general on 13 December 1996 by the Security Council and later confirmed by the General Assembly, making him the first officeholder to be elected from the UN staff itself.


Kofi Annan was re-elected for a second term in 2001 and was succeeded as secretary-general by Ban Ki-moon in 2007.


Kofi Annan was criticised for not expanding the Security Council and faced calls for his resignation after an investigation into the Oil-for-Food Programme, but was largely exonerated of personal corruption.


Kofi Annan quit after becoming frustrated with the UN's lack of progress with regards to conflict resolution.


In September 2016, Kofi Annan was appointed to lead a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis.


Kofi Annan died in 2018 and was given a state funeral.


Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi in the Gold Coast on 8 April 1938.


Kofi Annan and his sister were born into one of the country's Fante aristocratic families; both of their grandfathers and their uncle were Fante paramount chiefs, and their brother Kobina would go on to become Ghana's ambassador to Morocco.


Kofi Annan said that his surname rhymes with "cannon" in English.


From 1954 to 1957, Kofi Annan attended the elite Mfantsipim, an all-boys Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast founded in the 1870s.


Kofi Annan said that the school taught him that "suffering anywhere, concerns people everywhere".


In 1957, the year Kofi Annan graduated from Mfantsipim, the Gold Coast gained independence from the UK and began using the name "Ghana".


In 1958, Kofi Annan began studying economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana.


Kofi Annan received a Ford Foundation grant, enabling him to complete his undergraduate studies in economics at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, in 1961.


Kofi Annan then completed a DEA degree in International Relations at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1961 to 1962.


Kofi Annan was fluent in English, French, Akan, and some Kru languages as well as other African languages.


In 1962, Kofi Annan started working as a budget officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations.


In 1987, Kofi Annan was appointed as an assistant secretary-general for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for the UN system.


When Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali established the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 1992, Kofi Annan was appointed to the new department as Deputy to then Under-Secretary-General Marrack Goulding.


Kofi Annan replaced Goulding in March 1993 as Under-Secretary-General of that department after American officials persuaded Boutros-Ghali that Kofi Annan was more flexible and more aligned with the role that the Pentagon expected of UN peacekeepers in Somalia.


On 29 August 1995, while Boutros-Ghali was unreachable on an aeroplane, Kofi Annan instructed United Nations officials to "relinquish for a limited period of time their authority to veto air strikes in Bosnia".


Kofi Annan was appointed a special representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia, serving from November 1995 to March 1996.


In 2003, retired Canadian general Romeo Dallaire, who was force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, claimed that Kofi Annan was overly passive in his response to the imminent genocide.


Dallaire claimed that Kofi Annan failed to respond to his repeated faxes asking for access to a weapons depository; such weapons could have helped Dallaire defend the endangered Tutsis.


Kofi Annan explained that the events in Somalia and the collapse of the UNOSOM II mission fostered a hesitation among UN member states to approve robust peacekeeping operations.


Kofi Annan was the leading candidate to replace him, beating Amara Essy by one vote in the first round.


Kofi Annan recommended Security Council expansion and a host of other UN reforms.


On 31 January 2006, Kofi Annan outlined his vision for a comprehensive and extensive reform of the UN in a policy speech to the United Nations Association UK.


In March 2000, Kofi Annan appointed the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations to assess the shortcomings of the then existing system and to make specific and realistic recommendations for change.


In 2000, Kofi Annan issued a report titled We the Peoples: the Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century.


In 2005, Kofi Annan included the doctrine of "Responsibility to Protect" in his report In Larger Freedom.


Ritter claimed that Kofi Annan regularly interfered with the work of the inspectors and diluted the chain of command by trying to micromanage all of the activities of UNSCOM, which caused intelligence processing to be backed up and caused confusion with the Iraqis as to who was in charge and as a result, they generally refused to take orders from Ritter or Rolf Ekeus without explicit approval from Kofi Annan, which could have taken days, if not weeks.


Kofi Annan later believed Annan was oblivious that the Iraqis took advantage of this to delay inspections.


Kofi Annan claimed that on one occasion, Annan refused to implement a no-notice inspection of the Iraqi Special Security Organization headquarters and instead tried to negotiate access.


In 1998, Kofi Annan was deeply involved in supporting the transition from military to civilian rule in Nigeria.


Kofi Annan supported sending a UN peacekeeping mission to Darfur, Sudan.


Kofi Annan worked with the government of Sudan to accept a transfer of power from the African Union peacekeeping mission to a UN one.


Kofi Annan worked with several Arab and Muslim countries on women's rights and other topics.


On 15 July 2004, Kofi Annan cleared Lubbers of the accusations, saying they were not substantial enough legally.


In December 2004, reports surfaced that the Secretary-General's son Kojo Kofi Annan received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna Inspection SA, which had won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Programme.


Kofi Annan called for an investigation to look into the allegations.


On 11 November 2005, The Sunday Times agreed to apologise and pay a substantial sum in damages to Kojo Kofi Annan, accepting that the allegations were untrue.


Kofi Annan appointed the Independent Inquiry Committee, which was led by former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, then the director of the United Nations Association of the US.


On 19 September 2006, Kofi Annan gave a farewell address to world leaders gathered at the UN headquarters in New York in anticipation of his retirement on 31 December.


On 11 December 2006, in his final speech as secretary-general, delivered at the Harry S Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, Annan recalled President Truman's leadership in the founding of the United Nations.


Kofi Annan called for the United States to return to Truman's multilateralist foreign policies and to follow Truman's doctrine that "the responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world".


Kofi Annan said that the United States must maintain its commitment to human rights, "including in the struggle against terrorism".


The Foundation works mainly through private diplomacy, where Kofi Annan provided informal counsel and participated in discreet diplomatic initiatives to avert or resolve crises by applying his experience and inspirational leadership.


Kofi Annan was often asked to intercede in crises, sometimes as an impartial, independent mediator, sometimes as a special envoy of the international community.


Kofi Annan was appointed as chair of the panel, to lead it with Benjamin Mkapa, former president of Tanzania; and humanitarian Graca Machel, the former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa.


On 23 February 2012, Kofi Annan was appointed as the UN and Arab League joint special envoy to Syria in an attempt to end the civil war taking place.


Kofi Annan stated that the lack of international unity and ineffective diplomacy among world leaders had made the peaceful resolution in Syria an impossible task.


Kofi Annan served as the chair of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security.


In September 2016, Kofi Annan was asked to lead the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, Myanmar, an impoverished region beset by ethnic conflict and extreme sectarian violence, particularly by Myanmar's Buddhist majority against the Rohingya Muslim minority, further targeted by government forces.


Kofi Annan attempted to engage the United Nations to resolve the matter, but failed.


Kofi Annan became a member of the Global Advisory Board of Macro Advisory Partners LLP, a risk and strategic consulting firm based in London and New York City for business, finance and government decision-makers, with some operations related to Investcorp.


Kofi Annan served as chair of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders who work together on peace and human rights issues.


In May 2011, following months of political violence in Cote d'Ivoire, Kofi Annan travelled to the country with elders Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson to encourage national reconciliation.


On 16 October 2014, Kofi Annan attended the One Young World Summit in Dublin.


Kofi Annan chaired the Africa Progress Panel, a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa.


In 1965, Kofi Annan married Titi Alakija, a Nigerian woman from an aristocratic family.


In 1984, Kofi Annan married Nane Lagergren, a Swedish lawyer at the UN and a maternal half-niece of diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.


Kofi Annan has a daughter, Nina, from a previous marriage.


In 2002, Kofi Annan was enstooled by Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene of Asanteman, as the Busumuru of the Ashanti people - a Ghanaian chief.


Kofi Annan was the first person to hold this title.


Kofi Annan died on the morning of 18 August 2018 in Bern, Switzerland, at the age of 80, after a short illness.


Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, said that Kofi Annan was "a global champion for peace" and "a guiding force for good".