Kofi Annan, a life in pictures

The former secretary-general of the united nations and Nobel peace prize winner , Kofi Annan, died Saturday at the age of 80, after having accessed to the rank of a star of global diplomacy during his ten years at the head of the united Nations. “It is with immense sadness that the familleAnnan and the Foundation Kofi Annanannoncent that Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the united Nations and winner of the Nobel peace prize, died peacefully Saturday, August 18, after a short illness,” announced his foundation, in a statement in Geneva. The current secretary general of the UN Antonio Guterres has praised his predecessor as “a force that had guided him to the right.”

A career diplomat, Kofi Annan helped to make the UN more present on the international scene during his two terms, from 1997 to 2007. The first secretary general from sub-saharan Africa, Ghana has led the organization during the tumultuous period of the Iraq war, before we see his record tarnished by accusations of corruption in the case “oil for food”. His departure, however, he was one of the leaders of the UN are the most popular. In conjunction with the organization, he received in 2001 the Nobel Peace Prize for his “efforts for a world better organized and more peaceful”. “I have tried to place the human being at the centre of everything we do: conflict prevention, development and Human rights”, he said in accepting the Nobel peace Prize in Oslo.

Except for A few years as the director of tourism of Ghana, Kofi Annan has devoted forty years of his professional life at the united Nations. He was the first secretary general to be a product of the organization. He first led the human resources of the united nations, and then the budgetary affairs, before head, from 1993 to the maintenance of peace and to be propelled four years later at the head of the organization. When he was the director of the department of peacekeeping, the UN has witnessed two of the darkest episodes in its history: the rwandan genocide and the war in Bosnia. The peacekeepers are withdrawn in 1994 of Rwanda into chaos and ethnic violence. And a year later, the UN has not been able to prevent the serb forces massacred thousands of muslims at Srebrenica, Bosnia. These failures, writes Kofi Annan in his autobiography, “I have faced what would become my biggest challenge as secretary-general: to understand the legitimacy and the need to intervene in cases of flagrant violation of human rights”.

A “Rock star of diplomacy”

Kofi Annan has quickly adapted to his new role of diplomat-in-chief, multiplying tv appearances and participation in the society dinners in New York. Up to become a star, trained by some of the “rock star of diplomacy”. Kofi Annan was nominated to the United States, who had put their veto on a second term of office of his predecessor, Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali. This did not prevent him to demonstrate on the occasion of independence vis-à-vis the great powers. Thus he had angered Washington by estimating the “illegal” invasion of Iraq in 2003 because this transaction had not been endorsed by the security Council.

Born in April 1938 in Kumasi, Ghana, the son of an executive from a subsidiary of anglo-Dutch Unilever, Kofi Annan studied at the university of Kumasi, and then thanks to a scholarship in an american university, before joining the graduate Institute of international studies, Geneva. In 1965 he married Titi Alakija, a nigerian family wealthy. They have a son, Kojo, and a daughter, Ama, but will separate at the end of the 1970s. In 1984, he married second wife, Nane Lagergren, a lawyer and Swedish which will give him a daughter, Nina. In February 2012, he was chosen by the UN and the arab League to conduct a mediation in the war in Syria, but he threw in the towel five months later. It will acknowledge the major powers have, by their dissent turned its mediation in “mission impossible”.

He has created a foundation dedicated to sustainable development and peace and is part of the group of the Elders (the English term meaning “the ancient ones” or “the wise”), created by Nelson Mandela to promote peace and Human rights.

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