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Kofi Annan (1938–2018), former UN Secretary-General

by Legacy Staff

Nobel Peace Prize winner and first black African Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Kofi Annan (1938 – 2018), was a diplomat from Ghana who became the first black African Secretary-General of the United Nations. During his tenure as Secretary-General (he served two terms from 1997 – 2006), he set the Millennium Development Goals, which set global targets on poverty and child mortality. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work.

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Died: Saturday, August 18, 2018 (Who else died on August 18?)

Details of death: Died in Bern, Switzerland at the age of 80

Post-Secretary-General career: After retiring from the UN he created the Kofi Annan Foundation to work on international development. He worked toward peace in the Syrian conflict, was credited for successfully negotiating a power-sharing deal in Kenya following post-election violence, and was investigating the Rohingya refugee crisis in Burma for the UN.

Notable quote: “People of different religions and cultures live side by side in almost every part of the world, and most of us have overlapping identities which unite us with very different groups. We can love what we are, without hating what—and who—we are not. We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings.”

What people said about him: “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.” —Antonio Guterres, current UN Secretary-General

Full obituary: Washington Post

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