Kofi Atta Annan, diplomat, born 8 April 1938; died 18 August 2018

Kofi Atta Annan, diplomat, born 8 April 1938; died 18 August 2018

Please also see statements by a number of UN agencies, IGOs and other organizations throughout this edition.

The Elders mourn the loss of Kofi Annan
The Elders are shocked and deeply saddened at the passing of their dear friend and colleague Kofi Annan, who was the globally admired and respected Chair of The Elders.
Press release 17 August 2018
The Elders are shocked and deeply saddened at the passing of their dear friend and colleague Kofi Annan, who was the globally admired and respected Chair of The Elders.

A founding member of The Elders, Kofi Annan succeeded Archbishop Desmond Tutu as Chair in May 2013. He played a vital role in leading The Elders’ work, and was a voice of great authority and wisdom in public and private, most recently on visits to South Africa and Zimbabwe in July 2018.

As the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006, he was a constant advocate for human rights, development and the rule of law. The first Secretary-General to reach the post from within an organisation he served for over 40 years, Kofi Annan had a life-long commitment to the cause of peace and was known for his staunch opposition to military aggression, notably the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The great respect for him and his essential work was illustrated when he, together with the United Nations as a whole, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders, said:
“We are devastated at the loss of our dear friend and fellow Elder. Kofi was a strong and inspiring presence to us all, and The Elders would not be where it is today without his leadership. Throughout his life, Kofi worked unceasingly to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. While we mourn his passing today, we resolve as Elders to continue to uphold his values and legacy into the future”.

In retirement, Kofi Annan continued where he had left off at the United Nations, founding and leading the work of the Kofi Annan Foundation, based in Geneva, and maintaining a hectic international schedule. His quiet advice on how best to defuse impending crises was in constant demand from all corners of the globe, in particular from Africa.

All of the Elders and their Advisory Council and staff team members send their heartfelt condolences to Kofi’s family: his wife Nane, his children and grandchildren. They have lost a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

The world has lost an inspiring figure – but one whose achievements will never be forgotten, and whose commitment to peace and justice will endure to inspire future generations.

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Opinion by Kofi Annan 30 July 2018
Donald Trump’s deal must put Palestinian rights centre stage
Writing in the Financial Times, Kofi Annan welcomes fresh approaches to peacemaking but warns that any deal that does not address the root causes of the conflict will be doomed to failure.

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on the dynamic, irreplaceable Kofi Annan
18 August 2018
“I am grief-stricken over the death of Kofi Annan. 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.

He was a friend to thousands and a leader of millions. To me — like to so many in the UN, he was my immediate boss when I was thirty-one years of age — and what a boss! He was always courageous, direct in speech, but never discourteous — 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. 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.

When I told him once how everyone was grumbling about me, he looked at me — like a father would look at a son — and said sternly: “you’re doing the right thing, let them grumble.” Then he grinned!

There are some human beings who will seem irreplaceable to us, rare human beings. Kofi Annan is high among them.
Goodbye my dear friend … goodbye Kofi.”