Kofi Annan, the career diplomat from Ghana who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006, died in Geneva, Switzerland, on August 18 after s brief illness. He was 80 years old.
Annan was the first leader of the United Nations from sub-Saharan Africa. A native of Kumasi in what is now Ghana, both of his grandfathers were tribal chiefs. After studying for two years at what is now Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, Annan came to the United States to study at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and later earned a master’s degree in management at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Annan began his career at the United Nations in 1962 as a budget officer for the World Health Organization. He came to the United Nations headquarters in New York in 1983.
Annan was the author of Interventions: A Life in War and Peace (Penguin Books, 2013). In 2001, Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.