Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan passes away at 80

A file picture of former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan.

Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan died on Saturday. He was 80.

An official statement from The Kofi Annan Foundation was shared on Mr. Annan’s Twitter handle: “It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness.”

The Nobel Peace Prize winner served as the U.N. special envoy to Syria, and was the first black African to be appointed as Secretary-General. He served two terms in the post from 1996-2006.

In 2016, Mr. Annan was named by the Myanmar government to head a panel to find “lasting solutions” to the conflict in Rakhine state, where human rights groups have documented widespread abuses against the minority Rohingya Muslims.

Under his leadership, the UN introduced the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, in which countries of the world committed to ending poverty within 15 years. Under his leadership two intergovernmental bodies, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, were established. In 2001, Kofi Annan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace along with the United Nations.

Mr. Annan played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He launched the Global Compact initiative, the world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility, in 1999.

“His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days,” said the statement on Mr. Annan’s Twitter handle.

‘Global statesman’

The statement said:

“Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

“After stepping down from the United Nations, he continued to work tirelessly in the cause of peace through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela. He was an inspiration to young and old alike.

“Kofi Annan was a son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa. He was particularly committed to African development and deeply engaged in many initiatives, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and his early leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

“Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did. He will be greatly missed by so many around the world, as well as his staff at the Foundation and his many former colleagues in the United Nations system. He will remain in our hearts forever.

“The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning. Arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later.”

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