The Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations (FAMSA) is profoundly disheartened by the passing of former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mr. Kofi Annan.
Kofi Annan, in full Kofi Atta Annan was born April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, Gold Coast (now Ghana); died August 18, 2018.
He served as the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipient of the 2001 Noble Peace Prize. He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation as well as chairman of the Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
Mr. Annan was the first black African to head the United Nations, was deeply respected by all who knew and worked with him. He left an unforgettable legacy through his work at the United Nations.
Of his numerous mind blowing works, it is worth noting that Mr. Kofi Annan worked on ending human rights abuses and also to combat HIV/AIDS virus especially in Africa. He began his new term as the UN secretary general in 1997; the outlook from the AIDS epidemic was bleak. Some 23 million people were living with HIV there were 3.2 million new HIV infections and access to life saving treatment was only available to a privileged few. Under his leadership in 2000, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1308, identifying AIDS as a threat to global security.
Also, in 2000, at a time, when less than one billion dollars was invested in the AIDS response, he called for a war chest of at least 7-10 billion dollars for AIDS tuberculosis and malaria.
As UN secretary general, he spoke glowingly on gender equality including its role in development. According to him, no other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity or reduce infant and maternal mortality as well as improve nutrition including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. These were directed towards the improvement of health in Africa and the world as whole.
A highlight of Annan’s strides in office was his issuance of a five-point Call to Action in April 2001 to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic and his proposal to create a Global AIDS and Health Fund. He and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December of 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world”. A few of his strides in office include:
• Adoption of the UN’s first-ever counter-terrorism strategy,
• Involvement in the transition to civil rule in Nigeria in 1998,
• Launch of the “Global Impact” initiative in 1999 which has become the world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility,
• Being responsible for certifying Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and in 2006, his efforts contributed to securing a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah.
• Also in 2006, he mediated a settlement of the dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula.
While Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping in 1990, Kofi Annan facilitated the repatriation from Iraq of more than 900 international staff and other non-Iraqi nationals and also served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia and Special Envoy to NATO (1995-1996).
“Mr. Annan devoted his life to making the world a more peaceful place through his compassion and dedication to service. He worked tirelessly to unite us and never stopped fighting for the dignity of every person” (Nikki Haley).
Mr. Kofi Annan will be greatly remembered as a colossus of peace and justice
The Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations join the international community in remembering and acknowledging his remarkable service to the world.
May his soul rest in peace