Kofi Annan laid to rest in Accra

Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has been laid to rest at the new Military Cemetery at Burma Camp in Accra, after a 3-day state funeral held in his honour.

Prior to his burial a memorial service for the late diplomat was held at the Accra International Conference Centre, which was attended by UN officials, Heads of State, members of the diplomatic corps, traditional leaders and the business community.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, called the late UN boss a quintessential human being. He recounted the role his father, the late Mr. Henry Reginald Annan, played in the administration of the late Dr. Abrefa Busia toward the development of Ghana – a course that instilled in Mr. Annan the desire to change the world for the better.

Antonio Gutierrez, the current UN Secretary-General, said of his predecessor: “He was one of a kind and one of us”.

Touching on the diplomatic skills of the late diplomat, he noted that “Kofi Annan could say everything, sometimes without saying a word. Kofi Annan was the United Nations and the United Nations was him,” he added.

He urged all mourners to continue the good work of the late UN boss, by paying heed to the words he speaks from behind us as they go about their normal activities. “If we continue to lean in and listen hard, we will still hear the voice of Kofi Annan,” he said

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In a tribute read by his widow, Nane Maria Annan – and three children, Kojo, Nina and Ama, the family praised his hands-on training, care, love, and dedication.

While attending to problems of the world, his wife noted, he was always available to support his family. She also stated in her moving tribute to her late husband how he always lit-up when he returned to Ghana, and that he had an irresistible aura of radiant warmth from a young age.

“My father was very special in my life,” Ama said, beating her chest gently. “He taught us to appreciate whatever we had, whether good or bad because someone somewhere would wish to have it,” Ama said.

Kojo Annan stated: “To the world he was a global statesman par excellence. To me, he was just Daddy. His singular gift is that he believed in humanity’s potential, he believed in everyone’s ability to achieve extraordinary things if given an opportunity”.

The late Kofi Atta Annan and his twin sister Efua Atta Annan were born on 8th April, 1938, to Henry Reginald and Victoria Annan in Kumasi.

He had his basic and secondary school education in Ghana, and won a Ford Foundation grant that enabled him complete his education at Macalester College, USA, where he graduated with a degree in Economics.

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He also attended the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland, to study International relations, and later attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a Master’s in Management.

Kofi Annan began his career as a budget officer for the World Health Organisation (WHO), an agency of the United Nations (UN), in 1962 – and then moved on to manage the Ghana Tourist Development Company from 1974-1976.

In 1980 he became head of personnel for the office of UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva.

In 1983 he became the director of administrative management services at the UN Secretariat in New York.

In 1987, Mr. Annan was appointed as an Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for the UN system.

In 1990, he became Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Budget and Finance, and Control.

He steadily rose to the office of Secretary-General in December, 1996 and began work in 1997 – a position he held till December, 2006.

In 2001, its Centennial year, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee awarded Kofi Annan the Noble Peace Prize. This was to be divided between the United Nations (UN) and the world organisation’s Secretary-General.

On August 18, 2018, Kofi Atta Annan died in a Swiss hospital at the age of 80.  He was buried with full military honours, including a 17-gun salute.

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