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Wednesday, 19 August 2015 09:11

From Budget Officer To United Nations General Secretary: Mr. Kofi Atta Annan

By Emmanuel Amarh Ashitey

ACCRA, Ghana, August 19, 2015 (Modern Ghana) -- Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Atta Annan was born within minutes of his twin sister, Efua Atta, on April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, Ghana. The grandchild and nephew of three tribal chiefs, Annan was raised in one of Ghana's aristocratic families where he grew up with his family. Mr. Kofi Annan during his youthful age attended an elite Methodist boarding school from 1954 to 1957 called Mfantsipim where he learned that "that suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere.

"Mr Kofi Annan continue his education and went on to pursue higher education, attending four different colleges: Kumasi College of Science and Technology, now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota; Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland; and the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He earned a number of degrees, including a Master of Science, and studied international relations. Mr. Kofi Annan, whose native language is Akan, also became fluent in English, French, some Kru languages and other African languages. The name ‘Kofi’ literally means “a boy born on a Friday.”

This is a young man from an area where only farming activities are carried out, but with his strong desire to move higher in education to become a global icon and help bring peace to the world. Mr. Kofi Annan once told The New York Times. "People of my generation, having seen the changes that took place in Ghana, grew up thinking all was possible."

Mr. Kofi Annan's career with the United Nations began in the year 1962, when he got a job working as a budget officer for the World Health Organization, a U.N. agency, this is a man from Africa- Ghana and in a small community but with the passion to succeed and help make the world a better place for us all he started as budget officer and serve in that capacity at that period.

Mr. Kofi Annan has been an international civil servant ever since, with the exception of a short break from 1974 to 1976, when he worked as the director of tourism in Ghana.

For a nine-year period from 1987 to 1996, Mr. Kofi Annan was appointed to serve as an assistant secretary-general in three consecutive positions: Human Resources, Management and Security Coordinator; Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Controller; and Peacekeeping Operations. Mr. Kofi Annan served as under-secretary-general from March 1994 to October 1995. He resumed the position in 1996 after a five-month appointment to serve as a special representative of the secretary-general to the former Yugoslavia.

The United Nations Security Council recommended Mr. Kofi Annan to replace the previous secretary-general, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt, in later 1996.


The General Assembly voted in his favor, and he began his first term as secretary-general on January 1, 1997 and Mr. Kofi Annan in 1998, appointed a lady, Louise Frechette of Canada, as the first deputy secretary-general in an attempt to bring about more gender equality within the UN system with this appointment of a lady as deputy in the U.N help to improve more women in leadership positions.

Mr. Kofi Annan as the Secretary General of the UN, he launched the “Global Compact” campaign in 1999, which is the world’s biggest initiative for promoting corporate social responsibility.


Mr. Kofi Annan viewed the HIV/AIDS pandemic as his “personal priority”, and in April 2001, issued a “Call to Action”, proposing the establishment of a Global AIDS and Health Fund to help developing countries deal with the crisis. After the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, Mr. Kofi Annan played a crucial role in stimulating the General Assembly and the Security Council to take actions for combating terrorism.


In 2005, Mr. Kofi Annan presented a progress report, ‘In Larger Freedom’, to the UN General Assembly in which he recommended a host of reforms to renew and strengthen the UN organization. Mr. Kofi Annan and the UN were jointly awarded The Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for “their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."

Mr. Kofi Annan was previously married to Titi Alakija, a Nigerian woman whom he divorced in the 1970s. They have two children, Ama and Kojo. He is currently married to Nane Lagergren, a Swedish lawyer.

Mr. Kofi Annan returned to Ghana. He became involved with a number of organizations with a global focus. He was chosen to lead the formation of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, became a member of the Global Elders and was appointed president of the Global Humanitarian Forum in Geneva. In 2009, Annan joined a Columbia University program at the university’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Mr. Kofi Annan farewell speech to world leaders at U.N. on December 31, 2006. ’’We are not only all responsible for each other's security, "Mr. Kofi Annan said in his speech. “We are also, in some measure, responsible for each other's welfare. Global solidarity is both necessary and possible. It is necessary because without a measure of solidarity no society can be truly stable, and no one's prosperity truly secure."

(Article by EMMANUEL AMARH ASHITEY, Phone: 0540981328, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )


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