Kofi Annan

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Kofi Annan (2012)

Kofi Atta Annan (born April 8, 1938 in Kumasi , Gold Coast , † August 18, 2018 in Bern , Switzerland ) was a Ghanaian diplomat and the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006 . In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with the United Nations for his “commitment to a better organized and more peaceful world”.



Kofi Annan was born on April 8, 1938 to Henry Reginald Annan and Rose Eshun in the Ghanaian city of Kumasi and was baptized one day later. Ghana was still a British colony at the time and was known as the Gold Coast . Kofi Annan's family belonged to the elite of the country and came from the Fante ethnic group, which is more native to the coast . His two grandfathers and one uncle were so-called chiefs . His father worked for a long time as an export manager for Lever Brothers . With his twin sister Efua Atta, who died in 1991, he shared the middle name Atta, which means 'twin' in the Akan language. In 1965 he married Titilola Alakija. From this marriage Annan had two children; Son Kojo and daughter Ama. They separated in the 1970s but didn't get divorced until 1983. Annan's second marriage was from 1984 to the Swedish lawyer and artist Nane Maria Annan, daughter of the Swedish lawyer Gunnar Lagergren and niece of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg .

His second nephew is Anthony Annan , a well-known Ghanaian national soccer player.


From 1954 to 1957 Annan attended Mfantsipim School, a Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast , Ghana. In 1958 he began studying economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology . With the help of a scholarship from the Ford Foundation , he continued his studies in the United States at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota , where he obtained a bachelor's degree in 1961 . Annan then studied for a year at the Geneva University Institute for International Studies at the University of Geneva . In 1972 he also received a Masters of Business Administration from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology .

Early career

1962 Kofi Annan joined the World Health Organization of the United Nations one. From 1974 to 1976 he worked as a tourism director in Ghana. He then returned to the United Nations and worked as Assistant Secretary General in three successive positions: Security Coordinator Personnel Management from 1987 to 1990, Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Controller from 1990 to 1992 - among other things, Annan negotiated the release of Westerners Hostages in Iraq during the Second Gulf War  and peacekeeping operations from March 1993 to February 1994.

In 1994 Annan was responsible for deploying the UN blue helmet soldiers under General Roméo Dallaire , who were largely helpless in the face of the genocide in Rwanda due to a lack of support from the international community. The international community has failed here - according to Annan. In his memoirs, Annan later wrote: "It was one of the most harrowing experiences of my entire professional life, and one that left a deep impression on me." Dallaire himself, however, accused Annan of complicity in genocide: an article of May 3, 1998 in The New Yorker suggests that Annan withheld the repeated requests for help and reports from Rwanda about the impending genocide and did not forward them to the UN Security Council.

Annan then became Undersecretary-General until October 1995 when he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Former Yugoslavia . After five months in this role, Annan returned to his post as Undersecretary General in April 1996 .

Secretary General of the United Nations

On December 13, 1996, under pressure from the USA, Annan was elected UN Secretary-General by the General Assembly of the United Nations , succeeding Boutros Boutros-Ghali from Egypt . He took office on January 1, 1997, as the first Secretary General to be elected directly from among UN staff and the first UN Secretary General from sub-Saharan Africa. On June 29, 2001, he was confirmed by the UN General Assembly for a second five-year term that ended on December 31, 2006. Annan's re-election is considered astonishing as it resulted in a third consecutive African term. According to the rite, an Asian should actually have taken over the post, but the Asian countries did not oppose his re-election. The reason for this is believed to be its popularity. His successor was the previous South Korean Foreign Minister, Ban Ki-moon, on January 1, 2007.

Annan was forced to cut the UN budget and global UN workforce by more than ten percent during her first three years in office.

During his tenure as Secretary General there were several deliberations in the Security Council on the situation in Iraq , an important point being the status of Iraq's acquisition of weapons of mass destruction . Kofi Annan said in 2004 that he believed the invasion of Iraq was illegal.

In September 2003, Annan set up a 16-person body to develop proposals for reform of the United Nations , the so-called "High Level Group on Threats, Challenges and Change". Building on this, on March 21, 2005 he presented his surprisingly extensive 63-page reform document In Greater Freedom: On the Way to Development, Security and Human Rights for All .

On the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp , Kofi Annan spoke clearly in a special session of the UN General Assembly: He recalled that the UN was founded in response to “the evil of National Socialism”. And he coined - in a modification of a quote attributed to Edmund Burke - the sentence: "All that evil needs to triumph is the silence of the majority."

Most recently Annan campaigned for a global CO 2 tax and urged the world community to find a solution to the Darfur crisis .

further activities

Annan 2018 at the Munich Security Conference

In 2007 Annan became chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) , an initiative launched in 2006 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation (totaling $ 150 million). The aim is to double or triple agricultural production in Africa in the next 10 to 20 years, with smallholders being supported in the first few years.

Annan was a founding member of the Global Elders . This group of outstanding personalities has set itself the goal of bringing their influence and experience to the fore in solving global problems.

Annan was President of the Global Humanitarian Forum based in Geneva.

In March 2012, he began his new role as the United Nations and Arab League's special envoy for Syria. Due to a lack of support, Annan decided not to extend his six-month mandate. His successor was the Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi at the beginning of September 2012 .

Kofi Annan was also the author of several publications, in particular on world politics and the UN; his autobiography was published in German in 2013 under the title A Life in War and Peace .


Annan lived in Geneva until his death. After a short illness, he died in a hospital in Bern on August 18, 2018 with his family.


Annan at the award ceremony of the Freedom Prize of the Max Schmidheiny Foundation organized by the ISC (2006)


Web links

Commons : Kofi Annan  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Kofi Annan died in Bern hospital. The former UN Secretary-General died with his family after a short illness at the age of 80. Tages-Anzeiger , August 19, 2018, accessed February 27, 2020 .
  2. ^ Foundation German Historical Museum, Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany: Just seen on LeMO: LeMO Biography: Kofi Annan. Retrieved February 26, 2020 .
  3. ^ Peace FM Online: Kofi Annan's Daughter Weds . ( peacefmonline.com [accessed August 18, 2018]).
  4. ^ A b CNN Library: Kofi Annan Fast Facts . In: CNN . ( cnn.com [accessed August 18, 2018]).
  5. ^ A b Biography of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Retrieved August 18, 2018 .
  6. Thomas Scheen : Genocide with announcement. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . April 6, 2014, accessed August 18, 2018 .
  7. Kofi Annan: The international community failed in Rwanda. UNRIC , April 6, 2004, accessed August 20, 2018 (press release).
  8. Ronen Steinke : Chronicle of Failure. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . April 6, 2014, accessed August 18, 2018 .
  9. Lynch, C. (1998, May 5). Annan says big powers failed him in Rwanda. The Boston Globe, p. A1.
  10. Former UN Secretary General - "Rockstar of Diplomacy" Kofi Annan is dead
  11. General Assembly appoints Kofi Annan of Ghana as seventh Secretary-General. United Nations , December 17, 1996, accessed August 20, 2018 (English, press release).
  12. Kofi Annan. Center of the Storm. Life Map. On: thirteen.org.
  13. Andreas Zumach : Visionary in a dark time. In: the daily newspaper . August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 26, 2018 .
  14. Annan condemns the Iraq war as illegal. In: Spiegel Online . September 16, 2004, accessed July 14, 2012 .
  15. Der Standard (Vienna): UN General Assembly commemorates the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps , January 26, 2005
  16. ^ "The silence of the majority made Auschwitz possible" In: Spiegel Online , January 24, 2005.
  17. Annan leads Africa's "green revolution". In: Der Standard , June 15, 2007.
  18. ^ Global Humanitarian Forum
  19. Assad receives Annan with even more bloodshed. In: Spiegel Online , March 10, 2012.
  20. Annoyed Kofi Annan gives up. In: Spiegel Online , August 2, 2012; Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  21. ^ Honorary Doctorates. In: ussa.edu. United States Sports Academy, archived from the original on May 4, 2014 ; accessed on May 4, 2014 .
  22. http://www.koraawards.org/php/accueil/index.php?lang=eng&page=photos&annee=2000 (link not available)
  23. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.59 MB)
  24. Wooden crossbow for Kofi Annan to the Swiss Economic Forum ( memento of September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), BAZ , May 4, 2007
  25. ^ Speech by Federal President Horst Köhler ( Memento from July 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) v. May 5, 2008
  26. Kofi Annan honored with the Reinhard Mohn Prize for Sustainability. Neue Westfälische, accessed on November 7, 2013 .
  27. ^ President of East Timor: PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC BESTOWS UPON TEN INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES THE ORDER OF TIMOR-LESTE , September 1, 2019 , accessed on September 3, 2019.