Annan, Kofi Atta

Annan, Kofi Atta
▪ 1998

      When he moved into the office of UN secretary-general on Jan. 1, 1997, Kofi Annan of Ghana knew exactly what was expected from him by the organization's member nations. He was to clean house. The UN had become a sprawling bureaucracy—inefficient, costly, and misunderstood by many of the nations it was meant to aid.

      The affable and intelligent Annan, the first person from sub-Saharan Africa to serve as secretary-general, was elected to the post during stormy times at the UN. His predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt, was determined to keep the top post at the organization, though many member nations, most notably the United States, were put off by his independent and aloof style. The U.S., concerned about the UN's operation costs and its activities under Boutros-Ghali, had been deliberately withholding its contributions and was more than $1.5 billion in arrears to the organization at the time Boutros-Ghali's term was ending. The U.S. used its veto power as a member of the Security Council to block his reelection and to stall the entire process until a suitable candidate was found. After some heated bickering between the U.S. and France, the nomination of Annan was finally approved.

      Annan was a surprisingly popular choice to become the seventh secretary-general of the UN. At a time when the UN was in desperate need of bureaucratic reform and new thinking regarding its role in peacekeeping operations, he was the first secretary-general to rise through the ranks of the organization (since 1962 he had spent all but two years of his life working for the UN); he also had been deeply involved in the peacekeeping missions of the 1990s. His wide range of experience and his gentle manner made him a particularly desirable candidate. He joined the UN in 1962 as a budget officer for the World Health Organization in Geneva. With the exception of 1974-76 (spent as director of the Ghana Tourist Development Co.), Annan rose through the administrative ranks of the UN, reaching the positions of assistant secretary-general and controller for program planning, budget, and finance in 1990. During this time he established a reputation as an effective and approachable manager. On March 1, 1993, he was elevated to under-secretary-general of peacekeeping operations. In that position he distinguished himself during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly in his graceful handling of the transition of peacekeeping operations from UN forces to NATO troops.

      Kofi Atta Annan was born on April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, Gold Coast (now Ghana). His father was the governor of Ashanti province and a hereditary chief of the Fanti people. Annan studied at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi before traveling to the U.S. There, in 1961, he completed his undergraduate studies in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. He continued his education at the Institute for Advanced International Studies in Geneva (1961-62). Ten years later he earned a master's degree in management while a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1972).

      In July 1997 Annan proposed a plan to reform the bureaucracy of the UN that included consolidating some offices. He also called for revisions of the UN charter that would allow for further streamlining. His proposals aimed not only to improve the efficacy of the UN but also to help mend relations with the U.S., the host nation of the UN headquarters.


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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Annan, Kofi (Atta) — born April 8, 1938, Kumasi, Gold Coast Seventh secretary general of the United Nations (from 1997), who shared, with the UN, the 2001 Nobel Prize for Peace. He was the son of a provincial governor and hereditary paramount chief of the Fante… …   Universalium

  • Annan, Kofi (Atta) — (n. 8 abr. 1938, Kumasi, Costa de Oro, actual Ghana). Séptimo Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas (NU) (desde 1997), quien compartió con dicha organización el Premio Nobel de la Paz de 2001. Es hijo de un gobernador provincial y jefe… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Kofi Atta Annan — Kofi Annan (2003) Kofi Atta Annan (* 8. April 1938 in Kumasi, ehemals brit. Kolonie Goldküste, heute Ghana) war siebter Generalsekretär der Vereinten Nationen von Januar 1997 bis Dezember 2006. Er erhielt 2001 den Friedensnobelpreis.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Annan, Kofi — ▪ Ghanaian statesman in full  Kofi Atta Annan   born April 8, 1938, Kumasi, Gold Coast [now Ghana]    Ghanaian international civil servant, who was the seventh secretary general of the United Nations (UN) from 1997 to 2006. He was the corecipient …   Universalium

  • Kofi Annan — 7th Secretary General of the United Nations In office 1 January 1997 – 31 December 2006 Deputy Louise Fréchette (1997–2006) Mark Mall …   Wikipedia

  • Kofi Annan — 7.º Secret …   Wikipedia Español

  • Kofi Annan — (2003) Kofi Atta Annan (* 8. April 1938 in Kumasi, ehemals brit. Kolonie Goldküste, heute Ghana) war siebter Generalsekretär der Vereinten Nationen von Januar 1997 bis Dezember 2006. Er erhielt 2001 den Friedensnobelpreis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kofi Annan — Kofi Atta Annan, nacido en Kumasi, Ghana el 8 de abril de 1938, es el séptimo Secretario General de la Organización de Naciones Unidas ONU. Comenzó su mandato el 1 de enero de 1997. Kofi Annan fue galardonado con el Premio Nobel de la Paz del año …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Kofi Annan — Kofi Atta Annan (født 8. april 1938) er de Forenede Nationers (FN) syvende generalsekretær og den første generalsekretær valgt fra FN s egne rækker. Han begyndte på posten den 1. januar 1997 …   Danske encyklopædi

  • Kofi Annan — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Annan. Kofi Annan 7e …   Wikipédia en Français

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