The Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims has paid glowing tribute to former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, describing him as one who “fought for peace, dignity and respect” around the world.
“Kofi Annan fought for peace, dignity, and respect, traits which he embodied throughout his life’s work,” he said.
The Aga Khan who was in Ghana at the invitation of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to pay tribute to Mr Annan, is the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which coordinates the activities of over 200 agencies and institutions, employing approximately 80,000 paid staff, the majority of whom are based in developing countries.
A statement released from The Aga Khan’s office said, “Kofi Annan was a friend of the family and a valued partner of the Aga Khan Development Network.”
He served on the board of Global Centre for Pluralism, founded by the Aga Khan in Ottawa Canada, in partnership with the Canadaian government following his appointment to the role in 2010. The Centre was created to advance positive responses to the challenge of living peacefully and productively together in diverse societies.
The Aga Khan said that the world had lost “a unique leader, who, as Secretary General of the United Nations, as a member of the Elders and through the Kofi Annan Foundation, had an impact on world events which will be remembered for their contribution to help bring stability and hope to so many parts of the globe. He was a remarkably generous individual and trusted friend. He will be greatly missed.”
The Aga Khan was accompanied by his daughter, Princess Zahra, who served on the Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism with Kofi Annan, also expressed her deep sadness at the loss of the visionary leader.
Kofi Annan received a full state funeral service also attended by the current UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres who in his eulogy said Mr Annan was an embodiment of the UN.
“Kofi Annan was the United Nations and the United Nations was him,” he observed.
The colourful but solemn ceremony was attended by all former living Ghanaian presidents, ministers, members of parliament, politicians, clergy, the business community, heads of state from different countries, members of the diplomatic corps and a host of others.
Kofi Anna, 80, died on August 18, 2018 in Switzerland. Family sources said he passed on peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his wife Nane Maria and children. He was buried at the new military cemetery in Accra.