A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

UN Photo/Evan Schneider UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (second from left) and his wife, Nane Annan, (left) visit the pediatric wing of the Zinder Hospital, Niger in August 2005.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The flag at United Nations Headquarters in New York is flying at half-mast this Saturday as the Organization marks the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Officials from across the UN system have been paying tribute to the man who led the global body for a decade, starting in January 1997.  He was Secretary-General during what has been described as one of the darkest days in the Organization’s history: the 19 August 2003 bombing of the UN premises in Baghdad, Iraq.

For Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Annan is simply “irreplaceable”.

“Kofi was humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace.  In a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss becomes even more painful,” Zeid said in a statement.

Mr. Annan was the seventh of nine men appointed Secretary-General since the UN was established in 1945.  He was the first to emerge from the ranks of UN staff and the second to come from the African continent.

Before taking the reins of the organization, he held various senior level positions at Headquarters and in the field. At one point he was Zeid’s immediate boss.

The UN rights chief recalled a man who was ever courageous and though direct in speech, never discourteous.

“Later, when I was an ambassador at the UN he inspired us, by being a dynamic and charismatic leader in his capacity as Secretary-General,” Zeid continued.

“And most of all, he was a friend and counsel — to me and to so many others.  Whenever — as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, I felt isolated and alone politically (which, in the last four years, was often) I would go for long walks with him around Geneva — and listen.”

Mr. Annan and the UN were jointly awarded the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.

Miroslav Lajčák, President of the UN General Assembly, remembered the Nobel laureate as “a strong believer in dialogue” and staunch defender of peace, development and human rights.

“He dedicated his life to making the world a better, more peaceful, and just place for all people.  And in many ways, he is a symbol for the shared values of the United Nations” he said.

The UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) brings the global community together to promote action to achieve a more sustainable planet. Inga Rhonda King, the newly appointed Council President, offered her condolences to Mr. Annan’s family, and to all those who had worked with or known the former leader.

“His contribution to the world was immense. His leadership was compassionate and his legacy consequential,” she stated.

Kofi Annan was committed to, in his words, “bringing the United Nations closer to the people”; forging partnerships with civil society, the business sector and others.

UN agencies and their chiefs are using technology to further this goal, taking to social media to express their sadness over his death.

In a post on Twitter, William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) lamented the loss of “one of the greatest leaders of our times.”

He described Mr. Annan as a dear friend and “champion of justice and peace who, even at the moment of death, was engaged in the search for solutions to conflicts in many parts of the world.”

UNICEF chief Henrietta H. Fore also praised Mr. Annan as a lifelong servant of peace, saying on Twitter that he was particularly concerned about the future – the world our children and their children will inherit.

Also on Twitter, David Beasley, head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said Mr. Annan had strongly supported the agency’s mission and was an ally in the fight against hunger. “We all must keep his legacy alive, working to break the cycle of hunger and conflict so people can live in peace,” he said.

For her part, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay called Mr. Annan ‘a great defender of peace,” and added that “he was the very embodiment of peace and of a resolutely modern vision of the United Nations.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief welcomes ‘positive steps’ towards peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia

Virtual Doctor: a core part of modern healthcare?

Mass-graves found of at least 535 killed during ‘organized and planned’ inter-communal attacks in western DR Congo

Brussels to point the finger to Washington for lack of commitment over TTIP

These countries have the highest minimum wages

How smartphones can close the global skills gap for billions

Guinea-Bissau needs ‘genuinely free and fair elections’ to break cycle of instability

Zimbabwe facing man-made starvation, says UN expert

Aid stepped up to Syria camp; new arrivals say terrorists blocked their escape

Actions not words: what was promised at the UN’s landmark climate summit?

The great challenge of the 21st century is learning to consume less. This is how we can do it

FROM THE FIELD: Saving the tree kangaroos of Papua New Guinea

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica: MEPs demand action to protect citizens’ privacy

Who can unlock the stalled Brexit negotiations? UK Premier sticks to her proposal

Social Committee teaches Van Rompuy a lesson

UN’s Bachelet addresses progress and setbacks in human rights worldwide

Why the agtech boom isn’t your typical tech disruption

Sexual education in a school at the Brazilian Amazon

Escalation in Syria fighting cause for ‘great concern’ says UN chief, dozens more civilians dead or injured

These tech start-ups are changing what it means to farm

Internet Forum: Prioritize technologies most needed for sustainable development

How technology can help India breathe more easily

Pollution could be harming every part of your body. Here’s how

New UN bullying report calls for ‘safe, inclusive’ schools for all children

Mexico City is banning single-use plastics

Fairer and clearer rules on social benefits for EU mobile workers agreed

2,300 migrant children in Central American ‘caravan’ need protection, UNICEF says

Eurozone examines the prospect of issuing debt paper jointly

The EU Parliament and the ECB unknowingly or unwillingly fail to protect our financial assets

Investment and Financing under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): EU and Chinese stakeholders share their views at European Business Summit 2018

Addressing the consequences of digitalisation in the Russia & CIS region

Politics is failing to protect the Amazon. It’s time for finance to step up instead

Sochi not far away from Ukraine

How smart farming is helping Brazil feed the world

We don’t need to ban plastic. We just need to start using it properly

July was the hottest month ever – what does that actually mean?

‘Maintain calm’ and ‘exercise patience’ UN envoy urges, as Nigeria heads to polls

New Syria fighting represents ‘giant powder keg’, warns aid veteran, as he leaves UN stage

“C’est la vie”? French recession and unemployment to linger in Eurozone

Humanitarian Aid 2016: The needs, the highlights, the crisis and the relief

A Sting Exclusive: “China-Africa Cooperation Sets a Fine Example of South-South Cooperation”, by China’s Ambassador to EU

Ebola in DR Congo: UN chief ‘outraged’ by recent killings of civilians and health workers

The glimmers of hope in the latest dire climate report

Time is running out to protect Africa’s forests

‘Be the change’ we desperately need, UN deputy chief urges global youth

Irish Presidency: Not a euro more for EU budgets

UN Human Rights chief urges Venezuela to halt grave rights violations

How to tap the talents of refugees – one student at a time

Pedro Sánchez: We must protect Europe, so Europe can protect its citizens

Why India can show us how to achieve growth with purpose

It ain’t over until Google says it’s over

Afghanistan probe: ‘at least 60 civilians’ killed after US military airstrikes on alleged drug labs

‘We need to stand up now’ for the elderly: urges UN rights expert on World Day

3 things to know about our Sustainable Development Impact Summit

UN human rights chief denounces grave ‘assaults’ on fundamental rights of Palestinian people

These are the world’s healthiest nations

How will the NATO-EU competition evolve in the post Brexit era?

Vegans in France are using extreme tactics to stop people eating meat

Parliament commemorates the victims of the Holocaust

Almost all businesses expect to face a crisis. And how they deal with them really counts

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s