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Filippo Grandi to deliver the 2023 Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address on 3 November 2023

The Kofi Annan Foundation, Geneva Graduate Institute and Geneva Peacebuilding Platform are pleased to announce the third edition of the Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address, a high-level lecture on peace, held every year as part of Geneva Peace Week.

This year’s Address will mark the fifth anniversary of Kofi Annan’s death as well as the tenth anniversary of Geneva Peace Week.

*Please note, registrations have now closed for this event*

The 2023 Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address will be delivered by Filippo Grandi, the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The lecture will be preceded by a special performance from world-renowned operatic soprano, human rights activist and Lifetime UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Barbara Hendricks. The event will be moderated by Ahmad Fawzi, one of Kofi Annan’s former spokespersons and Communication Advisor, and will be streamed live via *Zoom.

“Peace must be sought, above all, because it is the condition for every member of the human family to live a life of dignity and security.” – Kofi Annan

The event will take place in the Ivan Pictet Auditorium at the Maison de la Paix in Geneva, Switzerland, on 3 November 2023 at 11 a.m. CET, as part of the official closing ceremony for Geneva Peace Week.


Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address
3 November 2023
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m CET
Auditorium Ivan Pictet (Pétale 1, Maison de la Paix, Geneva) and Online


  • Ahmad FawziCommunication strategist, former Spokesperson and Adviser to Kofi Annan


  • Nathalie Fontanet, Geneva State Councillor in charge of the Department of Finance, Human Resources and External affairs, Republic and State of Geneva
  • Marie-Laure Salles, Director, Geneva Graduate Institute


  • Filippo Grandi11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)


  • Barbara HendricksSoprano, human rights activist and Lifetime UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador


  • Amb. Patricia Danzi, Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • Annyssa Bellal, Executive Director, Geneva Peacebuilding Platform
  • Dany Diogo, Geneva Peace Week Lead, Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

The event is due to finish around 12:30 pm and will be followed by a closing ceremony and cocktail.

*Registration is now closed* 

More information on Geneva Peace Week participation can be found on the Geneva Peace Week website here.

Kofi Annan said, “Peace must be sought, above all, because it is the condition for every member of the human family to live a life of dignity and security.” As international tensions rise, solutions to new and old conflicts remain elusive and nationalist agendas threaten international cooperation; it is more important than ever to talk about peace and offer a platform to those who are building it, day after day.  There is no better place to do so than in Geneva, “city of peace”, a major multilateral hub and a preferred site for diplomatic summits, peace negotiations and discreet mediation efforts.

The Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address is organised thanks to the support of the Republic and State of Geneva, and the City of Geneva.

About Filippo Grandi

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Filippo Grandi became the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on 1 January 2016.

As High Commissioner, he heads one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Its 18,000-strong workforce spans 135 countries, providing protection and assistance to over 103 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced people as well as stateless people. Some 90 per cent of UNHCR staff work in the field, often in difficult and dangerous duty stations. The organization’s needs-based budget for 2023 is about US$10.7 billion.

Before being elected High Commissioner, Grandi had been engaged in international cooperation for over 30 years, focusing on refugee and humanitarian work. He served as Commissioner-General of the UN Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, from 2010 to 2014, after having been the organization’s Deputy Commissioner-General since 2005. Prior to that, Grandi served as Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan, following a long career first with NGOs and later with UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.

Grandi was born in Milan in 1957. He holds a degree in modern history from the State University in Milan, a BA in Philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Coventry.


About Barbara Hendricks

Soprano, human rights activist and Lifetime UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Barbara Hendricks received a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in 1973 after receiving a Bachelor of Science in 1969 in mathematics and chemistry at age 20 from the University of Nebraska.

Since her debut in 1974, she became one of the world’s most loved and admired opera, recital, and jazz musicians, recording 100 albums and selling more than 14 million. In 2006, she started her own label, Arte Verum, for which she records exclusively. Appointed in 1987, Barbara is UNHCR’s longest-serving Goodwill Ambassador. Named Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador in 2002, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to refugees.

In 2009, she was the founding president of UNHCR’s national fundraising partner, Sweden for UNHCR, and is active as President Emeritus. In 2003, she and Sergio Viera de Mello were among the patrons of FIFDH in Geneva. The Barbara Hendricks Foundation gives the Gilda De Mello prize for a documentary film in memory of Sergio. Barbara is very active with the European Women´s Lobby in support of women’s human rights and equality between men and women in European Institutions.  Her numerous awards include: Chevalier of Legion d’Honneur, Commandeur des Arts et Lettres, Prince of Asturias, member Swedish Academy of Music. She has lived in Europe since 1976 and has dual Swedish / Swiss citizenship.


About the Organisers

Kofi Annan Foundation

The Kofi Annan Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organization, established in Switzerland in 2007 by the late former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Our Board comprises prominent personalities from the public and private sectors, and we have a small, agile team based in Geneva, Switzerland. Inclusion, diversity, gender equality, and sustainability are at the heart of everything we do.

The Kofi Annan Foundation works closely with partners from international and regional organizations, foundations, universities and civil society. We channel expertise, convene all stakeholders around the table and forge coalitions of trusted influence that can make change happen.

Geneva Graduate Institute

The Geneva Graduate Institute is a higher education institution and a pioneer in the exploration of global issues. Through our core missions – academic research, teaching, expertise and forum activities – we produce and share knowledge on international relations, development issues, global challenges and governance.

Located in the heart of International Geneva, a centre of global governance, we build on scientific excellence and transdisciplinarity to foster critical and creative thinking on the major challenges of our time. By engaging with international organisations, NGOs, governments and private sector actors, we participate in global discussions on the future of multilateralism and prepare a generation of engaged and responsible decision-makers for leadership in a radically uncertain world.

Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

The Geneva Peacebuilding Platform is a knowledge hub that connects the critical mass of peacebuilding actors, resources, and expertise in Geneva and worldwide. Founded in 2008, the Platform has a mandate to facilitate interaction on peacebuilding between different institutions and sectors, and to advance new knowledge and understanding of issues and contexts related to building peace. It also plays a creative role in building bridges between International Geneva, the United Nations peacebuilding architecture in New York, and peacebuilding activities in the field. The Platform’s network comprises more than 4,000 peacebuilding professionals working on building peace directly or indirectly. The Platform ensures the continuous exchange of information through seminars, consultations, and conferences, and facilitates outcome-oriented dialogues on peacebuilding practice.

Geneva Peace Week

Geneva Peace Week (GPW) is a leading annual forum in the international peacebuilding calendar through which organizations in Geneva and their international partners come together to share knowledge and practice on a diverse range of topics related to peace across contexts and disciplines.

Geneva Peace Week offers an opportunity to connect and highlight the work of peacebuilders and to expand the space for each and every person, actor and institution that has a role to play in building peace and resolving conflict. GPW recognizes that peacebuilding occurs in many different contexts and cuts across disciplines and sectors. In this sense, Geneva Peace Week breaks down professional silos in order to enable creative responses to violence, exclusion and insecurity. By synchronizing meetings and events on different topics related to the promotion of peace during one week, GPW maximizes synergies between organizations in Geneva and their international partners, focusing on the cross-cutting nature of peace.