Kofi Annan

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Kofi Annan : biography

8 April 1938 – living

Personal life

In 1965 Kofi Annan married Titi Alakija, a Nigerian woman from a well-to-do family. Several years later they had a daughter Ama and later a son Kojo. The couple separated in the late seventies. In 1984 Annan remarried to Nane Lagergren – a Swedish lawyer at the U.N. and niece of Raoul Wallenberg.

Post-UN career

Upon his return to Ghana, Annan was immediately suggested as a candidate to become the country’s next President.

He has become involved with several organizations with both global and African focuses. In 2007, Annan was named chairman of the prize committee for the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, was chosen to lead the new formation of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), was appointed president of the Global Humanitarian Forum in Geneva, and was selected for the MacArthur Foundation Award for International Justice.

Annan serves as Chair of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders who work together on peace and human rights issues. In November 2008, Annan and fellow Elders Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel attempted to travel to Zimbabwe to make a first-hand assessment of the humanitarian situation in the country. Refused entry, the Elders instead carried out their assessment from Johannesburg, where they met Zimbabwe- and South Africa-based leaders from politics, business, international organisations and civil society. In May 2011, following months of political violence in Côte d’Ivoire, Annan travelled to the country with Elders Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson to encourage national reconciliation.

In the beginning of 2008, as head of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, Annan participated in the negotiations to end the civil unrest in Kenya. He threatened to leave the negotiations as mediator if a quick decision was not made. On 26 February 2008 he suspended talks to end Kenya’s violent post-election crisis. On 28 February, Annan managed to have President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga sign a coalition government agreement and was widely lauded by many Kenyans for this landmark achievement. That was the best deal achieved then under the mediation efforts.

Annan is a member of the Club of Madrid. is an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries. It constitutes the world’s largest forum of former Heads of State and Government, who have come together to respond to a growing demand for support among leaders in democratic leadership, governance, crisis and post-crisis situations. All lines of work share the common goal of building functional and inclusive societies, where the leadership experience of our Members is most valuable. Annan currently serves on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation, a public charity created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion USD gift to support UN causes. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the UN.

Annan chairs the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. Every year, the Panel releases a report, the , that outlines an issue of immediate importance to the continent and suggests a set of associated policies. In 2012, the Africa Progress Report highlighted issues of Jobs, Justice, and Equity. The 2013 report will outline issues relating to oil, gas, and mining in Africa.

Kofi Annan was appointed the Chancellor of the University of Ghana in 2008.

In May 2009 Columbia University announced that Annan will join a new program being launched by Dean John Coatsworth at the School of International and Public Affairs as one of the first group of Global Fellows. The Global Fellows program will bring students together with global practitioners to share firsthand knowledge of experiences in the life of an international or public figure. He is also a fellow of The Committee on Global Thought appointed by the University.