Ghana’s celebrated diplomat, Kofi Annan, who served as the United Nations (UN) Secretary General between January 1997, and December 2006, is reported dead at the age of 80.
He is said to have died in the Swiss capital Bern in the early hours of Saturday.
Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.
Born in Kumasi, he joined the UN in 1962, working for the World health Organization’s (WHO) Office in Geneva.
He then went to serve in various capacities at the UN Headquarters including serving as Under Secretary-General for peacekeeping from March 1992 to December 1996.
He was appointed the UN Chief in December 1996 by the Security Council and later confirmed by the General Assembly, becoming the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself.
The late Annan was re-elected for a second term in 2001 and was succeeded by South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon on January 01, 2007.
As Secretary-General, he worked to reform the UN bureaucracy, combat the deadly HIV spread, especially in Africa and launched the UN Global Compact.
After serving out his term, he formed the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development.
He was also the Chairman of “The Elders”, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
In 2012, the late Annan was the UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, to aid efforts at resolving the bloody conflict there but quit over his frustration with the UN’s lack of progress with regard to conflict resolution.
He was appointed to lead a UN Commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis in September 2016.
The late Annan studied economics at Macalester College – International Relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva and Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
He is survived by his wife Nane Marie Lagergren and their Children, Anna, Kojo and Nina. GNA