Kofi Annan exemplified the United Nations - António Guterres

BY: Getrude Ankah Nyavi
Mr António Guterres
Mr António Guterres

The United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Guterres says the late Kofi Annan was a global leader, who brought the UN closer to the people.

He said the UN will continue to miss his great contributions toward world peace, adding that “Kofi Annan was the United Nations and the United Nations was him.”

Paying tribute at Kofi Annan’s burial service at the Accra International Conference Centre on Thursday, Mr Guterres described the late UN Secretary-General as courageous, who always spoke the truth as well as subjecting himself to intense self-scrutiny.

According to him, the late Kofi Annan led new ideas and initiatives including the Millennium Development Goals.

“Kofi Annan was a guiding force for the good. During the tumultuous era in which he led the United Nations, he combined compassion, commitment and diplomatic skill to bring the organisation closer to the world’s peace, build the foundations of peace and give life to the values of the Charter.”

“Always remember you are never too young to lead and you are never too old to learn” he shared a popular saying of the global.

He further mentioned that those in despair always found in Kofi Annan a comforting shoulder to lean on.  

“The art of diplomacy is to say nothing, especially when speaking, but Kofi Annan will say everything, sometimes by simply saying nothing,” he said.

On his part, President Nana Akufo-Addo in a tribute said the late Annan advised him on sensitive issues when he took over as President of Ghana.

“He gave me sensitive, deeply appreciated advice when I became President of the Republic,” Akufo-Addo said.

President Akufo-Addo added that Mr. Annan was moved about his Ghana beyond Aid agenda.

“Kofi Annan was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian and African to chart his or her own course on to the path of progress and prosperity.

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He found the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, indeed of an African Beyond Aid, very appealing".

He said “Charming, cosmopolitan, consensus-builder, elegant, eloquent, gentle-mannered, modest, polygot, proud African, peacemaker, quintessential  diplomat – these words are still inadequate to capture the fullness of the personality of Kofi Annan, one of the truly iconic figures of modern times.”

He said the last time he saw Mr. Annan was in March 2018, when the former international diplomat came to “inform me, much to my discomfiture, that he could no longer continue to serve as Chancellor of Ghana’s premier university, the University of Ghana, Legon, since he had served the two terms permitted by the statutes of the university,” he said.

Problem solver

Kofi Annan’s wife Nane Lagergren described her husband as a man who worked to solve global problem.

She added that, “I remember how excited he always was to return home to Ghana. He would always be so happy”.

“He tried his best to make the world a better place in our homes, or villages, our towns and our communities….my Love, may you rest in peace and continue to inspire us and guide us.” said Nane.