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Kofi Atta Annan

Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations. He began his five-year term on Jan. 1, 1997.

Background

  • Ethnicity: His father was half Asante and half Fante; his mother was Fante.

  • Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi in Ghana's Asante region on Apr. 8, 1938, in a family originating from the coastal Fanti-speaking area. His twin sister Efua Atta, who died in 1991, shares the middle name Atta, which in Fante and Akan means 'twin'. Annan and his sister were born into one of the country's aristocratic families; both their grandfathers and their uncle were tribal chiefs.

  • Education

    • He studied at the University of Science and Technology at Kumasi, and completed his undergraduate work in economics at Macalester College in Minnesota. After pursuing graduate studies in economics in Geneva, he received a master of science degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972.

    Career

    • A seasoned diplomat fluent in English, French, and several African languages, Annan is the first sub-Saharan African to head the UN. He is also the first secretary-general to emerge from the ranks of the UN bureaucracy, having served the organization for more than three decades in a variety of posts. His UN career has focused on organizational and financial management as well as on refugee issues and peace-keeping, and has involved a number of sensitive diplomatic assignments.

      After holding a series of senior managerial posts in the 1980's, Annan served as assistant secretary-general for program planning, budget, and finance and controller of the UN from 1990 to 1992. Following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990, he was sent by the secretary-general to Iraq to facilitate the repatriation of over 900 international staff. While there he became engaged in negotiations for the release of Western hostages and in bringing attention to the plight of over 500,000 Asians stranded in Kuwait and Iraq. Annan later led the first UN team negotiating with Iraq on the "oil-for-food" formula to ease the humanitarian crisis in that country.

      Annan was under-secretary-general for peace-keeping operations from 1993 through 1996, years which saw dramatic growth in the number of such operations around the world. Throughout this volatile period, Annan worked to strengthen the capacity of the UN to undertake both traditional peace-keeping missions and new approaches to conflict resolution such as preventive deployment. For five months in 1995-1996, he served as special representative of the secretary-general to the former Yugoslavia and, in this context, as special envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He oversaw the transition from the UN Protection Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the NATO-led multinational Implementation Force following the 1995 Dayton peace agreement.

      Upon his selection as secretary-general, Annan pledged to pursue organizational reform of the UN and greater consensus among its member states.

      From 23 February until 31 August 2012, Annan was the UN –Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, to help find a resolution to ongoing conflict there.

    Major achievements

    • Annan and the United Nations were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for his founding of the Global AIDS and Health Fund to support developing countries in their struggle to care for their people.

    Religion

    in actual fact he is a christian with a methodist background and attends a protestant church.

    Denomination: Christian

    Views

    Quotations: Truman's credo that "the responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world"

    Connections

    • a wife: Titi Alakija
    • Daughter: Ama
    • a son: Kojo
    Kofi Annan
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    • 1954 - 1957
      Mfantsipim school
    • 1958
      Kumasi College Science & Technology
    • 1961 - 1962
      Macalester College
    • 1961 - 1962
      Graduate Institute of International Studies
    • 1962
      Budget Officer, World Health Organization
    • 1971 - 1972
      Sloan School Management
    • 1980
      Assistant Secretery-General, The United Nations
    • 1994 - 1995
      Under-Secretary General for the former Yugoslavia, the United Nations
    • 1997
      The Secretary-General, The United Nations
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    • Awards
      • 2000: Kora All Africa Music Awards
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