Kofi Annan, Ghana’s gift to the world, has died at 80

By: Flomo Yarkpawolo

The Annan Foundation and Annan family today issued a statement announcing that former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan died today, Saturday, August 18. The foundation said Annan, 80-year-old, died "peacefully" after a "short illness," and that "His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days. The statement further added:

"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.".

Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana. He first job with the U.N. was in 1962 where he served as a budget officer with the World Health Organization, according to the Kofi Annan Foundation. He began working with the U.N. refugee office in 1980, eventually advancing to higher positions there in the 1980s and 1990s. As the head of peacekeeping operations starting in 1993, Annan would "be sorely tested by devastating wars in Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia," NPR noted in 2012.

While delivering a speech in Oslo, Norway, in 2001, Annan spoke of his "three key priorities" for the future of the U.N. in the 21st century: "eradicating poverty, preventing conflict, and promoting democracy. Only in a world that is rid of poverty can all men and women make the most of their abilities. Only where individual rights are respected can differences be channeled politically and resolved peacefully. Only in a democratic environment, based on respect for diversity and dialogue, can individual self-expression and self-government be secured, and freedom of association be upheld." 

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