Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan dies at 80

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New Delhi: Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan died on Saturday at a hospital in Bern in Switzerland, after a short illness. He was 80 years old. Kofi Annan is survived by his wife and three children.

An official statement was shared on Mr Annan’s Twitter handle: “It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness.”

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Kofi Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat – United Nations Secretary General – serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

He, along with the United Nations, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world”.

Kofi Atta Annan was born in Kumasi on April 8, 1938. Since 1960 Ghana has been a republic within the British Commonwealth, a group of nations dependent on Great Britain.

Named for an African empire along the Niger River, Ghana was ruled by Great Britain for 113 years as the Gold Coast. Annan is descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his family.

His father was an educated man, and Annan became accustomed to both traditional and modern ways of life. He has described himself as being “atribal in a tribal world.”

After receiving his early education at a leading boarding school in Ghana, Annan attended the College of Science and Technology in the capital of Kumasi. At the age of twenty, he won a Ford Foundation scholarship for undergraduate studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he studied economics.

Even then he was showing signs of becoming a diplomat, or someone skilled in international relations. Annan received his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1961. Shortly after completing his studies at Macalester College, Annan headed for Geneva, Switzerland, where he attended graduate classes in economics at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales.

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