Kofi Atta Annan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), began his term on January 1,
1997 after his recommendation by the UN Security Council on December 13, 1996, and was the first to be elected to that position from the ranks of UN staff .
For his sterling performance, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with the UN in 2001 "for their work for a better
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He was born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8,
He left behind a wife, whom he married in 1984, Nane Maria Lagergren, of Sweden, a lawyer who is now an artist, and three children – Ama Annan, Kojo Adeyemo Annan
He had his high school education at the Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast from 1954 to 1957, where he said he was taught "that suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere".
He continued his studies at the University of Science and Technology (now KNUST) in Kumasi and completed his undergraduate work in Economics at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota, United States of America (USA) in 1961.
From 1961 to 1962, he undertook graduate studies in Economics at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes études Internationales in Geneva.
As a 1971-1972 Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),
He later served with the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, the UN Emergency Force (UNEF II) in Ismailia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, and in various senior posts in New York dealing with human resources, budget, finance
These included his work at the UN Headquarters in New York as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for the UN System (1987-1990) and Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Budget and Finance, and Controller (1990-1992).
In 1990, following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq,
He subsequently led the first UN team negotiating with Iraq on the sale of oil to fund purchases of humanitarian aid.
Before being appointed Secretary-General,
His tenure as
From November 1995 to March 1996, following the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Annan served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia, overseeing the transition in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to the multinational Implementation Force (IFOR) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Mr Annan's priorities as Secretary-General was to revitalise the UN through a comprehensive programme of reform; to strengthen the organisation's traditional work in the areas of development and the maintenance of international peace and security; to encourage and advocate human rights, the rule of law and the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity found in the UN Charter; and to restore public confidence in the organisation by reaching out to new partners and, in his words, by "bringing the UN closer to the people".
His first major initiative - his plan for reform, dubbed "Renewing the United Nations", was presented to member states in July 1997 and has been pursued ever since with an emphasis on improving coherence and coordination.
His April 1998 report to the Security Council on "The Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa" was among several efforts to maintain the international community's commitment to Africa, the most disadvantaged of the world's regions.
He used his good offices in several delicate political situations.
These included an attempt in 1998 to gain Iraq's compliance with Security Council resolutions; a mission in 1998 to help promote the transition to civilian rule in Nigeria; an agreement in 1999 to resolve a stalemate between Libya and the Security Council over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing; diplomacy in 1999 to forge an international response to violence in East Timor; and efforts in 2000 to certify Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, and then to try and halt the violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
It was also at his urging that in 2005 member states established two new intergovernmental bodies: The Peace-Building Commission and the Human Rights Council.
He also sought to improve the status of women in the secretariat and to build closer partnerships with civil society, the private sector and other non-state actors whose strengths complemented those of the UN; and in particular, called for a "Global Compact".
This involved leaders of the world business community, as well as
In April 2000, Mr Annan issued a Millennium Report, entitled "We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century", which called on member states to commit themselves to an action plan for ending poverty and inequality, improving education, reducing HIV/AIDS, safeguarding the environment and protecting peoples from deadly conflict and violence.
The report formed the basis of the Millennium Declaration adopted by Heads of State and Government at the Millennium Summit, held at the UN headquarters in September 2000.
In between and after his work with the UN,
He led in the formation of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, became Chairman of the Global Elders, an international