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Kofi Atta Annan was born April 8, 1938, in the Kofandros section of Kumasi, in the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana). He shared the same middle name, Atta, as his twin sister, Efau Atta Annan. In the Akan language, Atta means ‘twin.’ Annan was born into Ashanti and Fante aristocratic families. His grandparents and uncle were all tribal chiefs.
Annan attended the elite Mfantsipim school, a Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast from 1954 to 1957. The same year that he graduated, the Gold Coast won its independence from the UK and was known furthermore as Ghana.
Annan then studied economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, which is now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana. He completed his undergraduate education at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in the U.S. in 1961. He then studied International Relations at the Graduate Institute of International Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland from 1961 to 1962.
Shortly after graduating in 1962, Annan began working as a budget officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations (U.N.) While holding that position, he went back to school, studying at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He then worked as a manager of the state-owned Ghana Tourist Development Company in Accra from 1974 to 1976.
Annan then worked as the head of personnel for the office of the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva in the early 1980s. He then began working as the director of administrative management services of the U.N. Secretariat in New York by 1983. By 1987, he was appointed to the role of Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for the U.N. system.
In 1990, Annan became Assistant Secretary-General for Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Control. In 1992, Annan began serving as the Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General Marrack Goulding shortly after the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) was established.
Annan was then hired as the Under-Secretary-General of DPKO in 1993. While the founder of DPKO, Boutros-Ghali, was unreachable, Annan allowed NATO to conduct Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnia in the form of an air strike. As a result, he was revered by the U.S. and deemed capable of replacing Boutros-Ghali.
While working for the U.N., Annan focused on initiatives that would find a cure for HIV/AIDS, as well as the establishment of the Global Compact. Like any other politician, he faced great backlash for some of his policies but persisted nonetheless. In 2006, he gave his farewell address at the U.N. headquarters in New York and retired on December 31, 2006.
After retiring from the U.N., Annan founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007. His not-for-profit organization worked to promote better global governance. He continued working for non-profit organizations and in close contact with the U.N. for the remainder of his life. Kofi Annan died on August 18, 2018, in Bern, Switzerland. He was 80 years old.
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer (Nikodemus Mwandishi) or We Buy Black. Thank you.**