Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General, Dies at 80

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the first Black African to serve in the role, died Saturday in Switzerland after battling a brief illness. He was 80.

As the head of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006, Annan left an indelible impression receiving the co-award for the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the U.N. in 2001.

Born on April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, Ghana, known then as the Gold Coast, Annan’s family held regal positions in the Kofandros section of the country with both of his grandfathers holding chief titles in the Ashanti and Fante tribe.

In 1958, Annan began studying economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana.

In 1961 he came to the United States to attend Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. According to his biography, he went on to study international relations at the Graduate Institute Geneva and management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In 1962, he began work at the United Nations in Geneva. Throughout his career he held several roles at the U.N. headquarters, including serving as the third-highest ranking official as under-secretary-general for peacekeeping between 1992 and 1996.

In 1996, Annan was appointed secretary-general by the UN’s Security Council, making him the first officeholder to be elected from the U.N.’s staff and the first Black African to do so.

Annan went on to serve two terms, focusing on HIV/AIDS and corruption. He also launched the U.N. Global Compact, an initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.

In 2007, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in Switzerland, which works to promote better global governance and strengthen the capacities of people and countries to achieve a fairer, more peaceful world.

In 2012, Annan with Nader Mousavizadeh wrote a memoir, “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace,” which has been described as a “personal biography of global statecraft.”

He is survived by wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina.

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Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s millennial publication. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A proud southern girl, her lineage can be traced to the Gullah people inhabiting the low-country of South Carolina. The history of the Gullah people and the Geechee Dialect can be found on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In her spare time she enjoys watching either college football or the Food Channel and experimenting with make-up. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at E-mail: Social Media Handles: Twitter: @dreamersexpress, Instagram: @Sarafinasaid, Snapchat: @Sarafinasaid

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