“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” ~Kofi Annan
On August 18, 2018, Kofi Annan passed away at the age 80 in Bern, Switzerland. He was the first person from sub-Saharan Africa to lead the United Nations (UN). Under Annan’s leadership, the UN re-established its mission to focus more on HIV/AIDs, developing economies, and genocide. These programs contributed to Annan and the UN winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for their work on human rights.
Kofi Atta Annan was born on April 8, 1938 in Kumasi, Gold Coast [Ghana] into an elite family. His father was a chief of the Fante people and a civil servant, which gave Annan an advantage growing up in colonial Africa. He studied science and technology in Ghana and in 1959 relocated to the United States to study at Macalester College in Minnesota. Annan continued his graduate studies in economics in Geneva, Switzerland and accepted his first position with the United Nations with the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1980, Annan became the Deputy Director of Administration and Head of Personnel at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He continued to rise in the UN and in 1997, Annan became Secretary-General of the United Nations.