Annan

Annan

[ah-nahn]
Annan, Kofi Atta 1938-, Ghanaian diplomat, secretary-general of the United Nations (1997-2006), b. Kumasi. The scion of a family of Fante chieftains, he studied at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minn. (grad. 1961), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.A., 1972). Annan began working for the United Nations in 1962 (with the World Health Organization) and, except for a stint as head of Ghana's tourist ministry (1974-76), he was with UN bodies until he became secretary-general. He acquired special expertise in the areas of refugees and peacekeeping and in 1990 negotiated the release of UN staff and Western hostages held by Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait. Named (1993) undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, he was a special representative to the former Yugoslavia (1995-96), overseeing the transfer of peacekeeping duties from UN forces to NATO. His tenure during this period was marred by the failure of the United Nations, its members, and its peacekeeping forces to prevent the atrocities that occurred in Rwanda and Bosnia.

In 1997, Annan succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali as secretary-general, becoming the first sub-Saharan African to hold the office; he was elected to a second five-year term in 2001. Accessible and affably candid, combining idealism with realism, he generally was an effective consensus-builder. Annan particularly emphasized the UN's traditional obligations in the area of human rights and the newer challenges of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and international terrorism. He had some success in streamlining UN bureaucracy and controlling its budget and, until his disagreements with the United States over its invasion of Iraq, had generally improved strained relations with the United States. Annan called for overhauling the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to make it more representative of the UN's membership and to increase the organization's effectiveness, but he was not able to get member nations to agree to significant changes in the UN's structure. He, along with the United Nations, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

In 2002-3 Annan worked unsuccessfully to resolve the division of Cyprus, and in the same period his work as secretary-general was made more difficult by strong differences among the permanent members of the Security Council concerning how to handle Iraq's resistance to complying with UN weapons inspections and by the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq that began in 2003. He subsequently publicly emphasized the need for individual nations to support the United Nations and work through it instead of unilaterally and the need for revamping the Security Council.

In 2004 he publicly criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq as having been illegal. Those comments were seen as contributing to subsequent calls for his resignation by conservative Republicans in the United States because of the United Nations' failure to prevent corruption in the Iraq oil-for-food program; UN staff and Annan's son were implicated as the investigation into the program progressed. Other nations, however, remained strong supporters of Annan. A investigration report on the oil-for-food program cleared Annan of any direct involvement but at the same time criticized him for exercising inadequate oversight. Annan was succeeded as secretary-general by Ban Ki-Moon. In 2008 Annan negotiated a power-sharing agreement between opposing parties in Kenya after a disputed election there.

(born April 8, 1938, Kumasi, Gold Coast) Seventh secretary-general of the United Nations (1997–2006), 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 people. He did graduate work at Geneva's Institute for Advanced International Studies and at MIT. He has spent almost his entire career within the UN, beginning at the World Health Organization (1962). As undersecretary-general for peacekeeping (from 1993), he transferred peacekeeping operations in Bosnia from the UN to NATO. Elected in December 1996, he became the first UN secretary-general from sub-Saharan Africa, and he enjoyed a mandate to reform the UN bureaucracy. He criticized the UN's failure to prevent or minimize genocide in Rwanda (1994) and unsettled many by declaring that the UN should address human-rights violations perpetrated by governments against their own people. His priorities included restoring public confidence in the organization and strengthening the UN's activities for peace and development. Annan was appointed to a second term in 2001, and terrorism and global security became major issues following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S. He also oversaw the adoption of a number of reforms, including many institutional and administrative changes, though some measures, such as the expansion of the UN Security Council, were rejected. Annan left office in 2006, succeeded by Ban Ki-moon.

Learn more about Annan, Kofi (Atta) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born April 8, 1938, Kumasi, Gold Coast) Seventh secretary-general of the United Nations (1997–2006), 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 people. He did graduate work at Geneva's Institute for Advanced International Studies and at MIT. He has spent almost his entire career within the UN, beginning at the World Health Organization (1962). As undersecretary-general for peacekeeping (from 1993), he transferred peacekeeping operations in Bosnia from the UN to NATO. Elected in December 1996, he became the first UN secretary-general from sub-Saharan Africa, and he enjoyed a mandate to reform the UN bureaucracy. He criticized the UN's failure to prevent or minimize genocide in Rwanda (1994) and unsettled many by declaring that the UN should address human-rights violations perpetrated by governments against their own people. His priorities included restoring public confidence in the organization and strengthening the UN's activities for peace and development. Annan was appointed to a second term in 2001, and terrorism and global security became major issues following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S. He also oversaw the adoption of a number of reforms, including many institutional and administrative changes, though some measures, such as the expansion of the UN Security Council, were rejected. Annan left office in 2006, succeeded by Ban Ki-moon.

Learn more about Annan, Kofi (Atta) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Annan may refer to:

People

Geography

Politics

Schools

  • Annan Academy, a secondary school in Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

See also

  • Annam, the name that the Chinese gave to the land that is now modern-day northern Vietnam
  • Annandale
  • Anann, a goddess in Irish mythology

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