What to know

The Life of Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan served as the Secretary General of the United Nations from 1997 until 2006.

Kofi Annan, the first black African to be appointed Secretary General of the United Nations, has left us.

The life of Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan has been nothing less than remarkable. Having dedicated his professional life to his humanitarian work, the end of his 8-year tenure as the Secretary General of the United Nation earned him a Nobel Peace Prize.

Kofi Annan passed away in the early hours of Saturday, at the age of 80.

Born on April 8, 1938, Annan first started working with the United Nations in 1962, as a budget officer for the World Health Organization.

After a short time with the state-owned Ghana Tourist Development Company in Accra, he joined the UN again as the head of personnel for the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, in 1980.

A few years later he became the director of administrative management services of the UN Secretariat in New York, and later on Assistant Secretary General for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for the UN system, in 1987.

In 1990, he became Assistant Secretary-General for Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Control.[18]

After serving as the Assistant Secretary General for Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Control from 1990 until 1992, he was Deputy Under Secretary General to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). The department has just been established by the then-Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He became Under Secretary General the following year.

However, his big break came on August 29, 1995, when Boutros-Ghali was unreachable on an airplane. Annan stepped up and instructed United Nations officials to “relinquish for a limited period of time their authority to veto air strikes in Bosnia.”

This move allowed NATO forces to successfully conduct Operation Deliberate Force, and put Kofi Annan in front of the eyes of the United States. The move also had him appointed as a Special Representative of Boutros-Ghali to the former Yugoslavia, which he served as from 1995 to 1996.

When Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali ran for reelection in 1996, he was the only candidate. But the United States had someone else for Secretary General in mind. Although he won 14 out of 15 votes in the Security Council, he was vetoed by the USA.
With Boutros-Ghali out of the race, it seemed like Annan was the top candidate, but not everyone was so fond of him.

Before becoming Secretary General, Kofi Annan was vetoed four times by France. On January 1, 1997, he started his first term as the Secretary General of the UN.

You Might Also Like