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Kofi Annan: There was a man
23. August 2018 at 22:26
"These often unsung heroes understand...that poverty, disease and famine are just as deadly and destructive as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis. Individuals ...are taking on these challenges in their communities, volunteering to make a difference. They remain the true champions of our work towards the Millennium Development Goals." -- Kofi Annan
The world stood still as the wave of sorrow superimposes her crest unto the faces of millions of person across the globe. It was a day where the flag of both the United Nations and that of the Ghanaian nation became lowered at half its mast level. It was an occurrence no one saw coming as top diplomats around the world was taken aback by the sudden turn of events. From Kumasi to the world, Africa biggest export and foremost internationalist Kofi Annan dies at 80.
The news which filtered through the spine of the Kofi Annan foundation sent immediate cold shivers down the spine of global leaders who received the sad news in an absolute perplexity.

“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...” This was the brief that unsettled the world map shortly after her release. Indeed it became apparent to all that truly Kofi Annan is no more.

“More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.” — @Kofi Annan Dec 1999. There was a man. In nobility he glides, in dedication he strives, in charisma he explores, in leadership he controls, in humanity he serves.

Born 8th April 1938 in the Kofandros section of Kumasi in the Gold Coast (now Ghana), he attended elite Mfantsipim school, a Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast founded in the 1870s from 1954-1957. He however proceeded to the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana where he started a major in Economics. Upon receiving a Ford Foundation grant, he left for the Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States where he completed and subsequently earned a Baccalaureate in Economics.

In the pursuit for academic excellence, Annan proceeded to The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland where he earned diplôme d'études approfondies DEA degree in International Relations between 1961-1962. After a brief hiatus from the academic community, Annan landed his first career job at the world health organization, an agency of the United Nations where he positioned in the capacity of a budget officer.

Having gained a reasonable amount of experience and skill-know-how, been a lover of education, he left for the MIT Sloan School of Management, a business school of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. As a Sloan fellow, he bagged a master's degree in management (1972-1972). On returning to the United Nation in 1980, he was made the head of personnel for the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva.

Kofi Annan fought credibly well for just causes he passionately believed in while working at various capacities at the United Nations. He rose and rode through the ranks on until 13 December 1996. On the recommendation of the UN Security Council, Confirmed four days later by the vote of the General Assembly, he was elected as the Secretary General of the United Nation. A position he started officially on 1 January 1997.

A reformer, an absolute humanitarian and a Pan-African proponent, Kofi Annan reformed the policies of the United Nations towards the creation of a better world we now live in. On March 7 2006, in a reform report entitled Investing in the United Nations, For a Stronger Organization Worldwide, he presented to the General Assembly his proposals for a fundamental overhaul of the United Nations Secretariat.

Working tirelessly for a saner world and for a better and more equipped United Nation, he continued his reform and policy formation on structural arrangement of the United Nation. On March 30 2006, he made another research proposition as he presented to the General Assembly a second reform report entitled: Mandating and Delivering: Analysis and Recommendations to Facilitate the Review of Mandates. A research analysis he proposed for advancing the entire work programme of the United Nations Secretariat.

Known for his ground breaking and cutting edge proposition in the initiation of the millennium development goals, Annan worked assiduously to seeing it's reality and eventual success. In one of his entreaties which he entitled "We the peoples: the role of the United Nations in the 21st century," he surmised the absolute advantages, gains, and relevance of achieving a better, fairer, and equitable world. A deal which was presented to the comity of nations for onward reviewal.

The idea which was largely embraced was adopted by national leaders at the Millennium Summit on September 2000 anchored under the Millennium declaration. Subsequently, it was accepted and implemented by the United Nations Secretariat in 2001 called the Millennium Development Goals known today as the famous MDGs which is now a platform for assessing the metrics of advancement in any nation especially developing nations.

According to the proposition as put forward by Annan, the reports reads boldly; “put people at the Centre of everything we do. No calling is more noble, and no responsibility greater, than that of enabling men, women and children, in cities and villages around the world, to make their lives better"

"Free our fellow men and women from the abject and dehumanizing poverty in which more than 1 billion of them are currently confined".

Annan alongside the United Nation in 2001 was a recipient of the Nobel Peace prize awarded by the Nobel Committee in her centennial year. Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and a more peaceful world. During his distinguish career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

Annan died a noble death and his legacy will forever remain bliss in the hearts and mind of the world. Surly, in Kofi Annan, there was a man above many. He was of many parts and kind which is rarely seen in today's world. For heroes like Kofi Annan world leaders owe it a responsibility to continue to create a better world for the people they claim to govern. Kofi Atta Annan. Indeed, there was a man.

"These often unsung heroes understand...that poverty, disease and famine are just as deadly and destructive as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis. Individuals ...are taking on these challenges in their communities, volunteering to make a difference. They remain the true champions of our work towards the Millennium Development Goals."
-- Kofi Annan
Cite This Article As: Eyinmosan Dickson Jnr. " Kofi Annan: There was a man." International Youth Journal, 23. August 2018.

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