The news of Kofi Annan’s passing on Saturday 18th August 2018 has been received with great sadness around the world and within the ACUNS community. The former UN Secretary-General dedicated his career and leadership to the protection of human rights across the world and fought tirelessly for global peace and sustainable development in some of the most challenging times.

Kofi Annan and ACUNS
Kofi Annan was a long standing member of ACUNS from its early years and during the 1990s and early 2000s before and during his time as Secretary-General of the United Nations. He participated in the ACUNS Annual Meetings in 1989, 1995, 1999 and 2003. Kofi Annan valued the global and interdisciplinary dialogue offered by ACUNS, and his contributions to the Annual Meetings reflects this.

His 1999 address as part of the “Distinguished World Leader” emphasized the benefits of ACUNS. The following is a quote from his address:

Where do we look for new ways to think about peace and to make peace? Who can provide us with new ideas about development and disbarment? These are the questions you must answer and we turn to you for advice, thinking and creative support. The Academic Council fosters dialogue and cooperation between academia and various components of the United Nations system” – Kofi Annan 1999

The full transcript of Kofi Annan’s address during the 1999 Annual Meeting can be found in ACUNS Information Memorandum 40, August 1999. 

The Collected Papers of Kofi Annan: UN Secretary-General, 1997-2006 have been edited by former ACUNS Executive Director Jean Krasno, and are available from Lynne Rienner Publishers here.

Kofi Annan (1938–2018)
Kofi Annan was the first African to occupy the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to December 2006. Mr Annan is remembered for his active commitment to peacekeeping on a international front and his political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights. He played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as the acceptance by UN Member States of the “responsibility to protect” people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. One of his main priorities involved a comprehensive programme of reform that sought to revitalize the United Nations and make the international system more effective. In 2001 he and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and Kofi Annan was praised for being “pre-eminent in bringing new life to the organization”. Kofi Annan today is remembered for his enthusiasm and great efforts in striving to make the world a better and more peaceful place. Prior to his position as Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan had worked in a number of roles within the United Nation System. In 1962 he became an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization, He later served with the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, the UN Emergency Force (UNEF II) in Ismailia, the United nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, and in various senior posts in New York dealing with human resources, budget, finance, and staff security. Immediately before becoming Secretary-General, he was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, during his time as Secretary-General UN peacekeeping was strengthened in ways that enabled the United Nations to cope with a rapid rise in the number of operations and personnel. One of his main priorities during this period was a comprehensive programme of reform that sought to revitalize the United Nations and make the international system more effective.