“Long after he had broken barriers, Kofi never stopped his pursuit of a better world, and made time to motivate and inspire the next generation of leaders.”
– Barack Obama
Kofi Annan was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Secretary-General of the United Nations between 1997 and 2006, and the founding chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, which seeks to mobilise political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights. Learn more about the life of Kofi Annan below.
Kofi Annan is born in Kumasi, Ghana.
In 1957, the year Annan graduated from Mfantsipim, the Gold Coast gained independence from Britain and adopted the name ‘Ghana’.
Kofi Annan joins the United Nations as a Budget Officer for the World Health Organization after attending the Graduate Institute in Geneva.
Kofi Annan graduates in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management in the United States.
Kofi Annan is appointed Director of Tourism in Ghana.
Kofi Annan is appointed Head of Personnel in the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva (UNHCR).
Kofi Annan marries Swedish lawyer Nane Lagergren.
Kofi Annan is appointed UN Assistant Secretary-General in Human Resources Management, and Security Coordinator.
Kofi Annan is appointed UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
At the age of 59, Kofi Annan becomes the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations, following the Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and the first to emerge from within the ranks of the organisation.
The Nobel Committee awards the Peace Price to Kofi Annan and the United Nations. Kofi Annan is praised for being ‘pre-eminent in bringing new life to the organization’.
Kofi Annan delivers his farewell address to world leaders gathered at the UN headquarters in New York.
Kofi Annan establishes the Kofi Annan Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, with the aim of mobilising political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights.
Kofi Annan becomes Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, composed of ten distinguished individuals from the private and public sector. It advocates equitable and sustainable development in Africa.
After widespread violence occurred during Kenya’s 2007 presidential election, Kofi Annan co-chairs the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, appointed by the African Union to help find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Kofi Annan is appointed Joint Special Representative for Syria by the UN and the Arab League, to help find a resolution to the ongoing conflict
Kofi Annan is appointed Chair of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights
Kofi Annan and the Commission launch the groundbreaking report “Deepening Democracy” to set out how elections can remain the main tool for the peaceful transfer of power
Why do peace processes fail? The Foundation and ICTJ release a groundbreaking report entitled “Challenging the Conventional”
How do we prevent West Africa’s drug problem from growing? Kofi Annan and his Foundation convene a commission to chart a way forward
Kofi Annan facilitated the signing of the Abuja Accords to ensure peaceful elections in Nigeria
The Foundation and the Gov of Myanmar convene a Commission chaired by Kofi Annan to produce a roadmap for Rakhine State
Kofi Annan helps his Foundation’s youth initiative launch their guide for young people on how to counter violent extremism.
Kofi Annan convenes leaders from the tech world and from politics to outline how we may safeguard elections in the digital age.
Kofi Annan passed away on 18 August 2018 after a short illness in Bern, Switzerland, surrounded by his loved ones.
During over forty years of service in the United Nations, the last ten as Secretary-General, Kofi Annan has been at the centre of the major geopolitical events of our time. As much a memoir as a guide to world order, Interventions provides a unique, behind-the-scenes view of global diplomacy during one of the most tumultuous periods in UN history.
We the Peoples is a collection of Kofi Annan’s greatest speeches. It reveals how Kofi Annan‘s ideas and priorities emerged and were proclaimed. His words on war, peace, humanity, and ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ continue to resonate and offer many pointers for maintaining and developing the UN as a vital instrument for humanity in coming decades.
To provide a comprehensive understanding of Kofi Annan’s tenure as UN Secretary-General from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006, a team led by Professor Jean Krasno assembled thousands of selected papers from his period in office, including speeches, reports, interviews, off-the-cuff comments, correspondence, statements to the press and internal notes. This is the first time that the papers of the UN.