Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Kofi Annan (Ghana)

Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8, 1938. He was the seventh UN general secretary and the first to come out of the organization’s ranks. He was in function from 1997 to 2006. Additionally he has received numerous prizes and awards for his human rights work, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

Kofi Annan started working for the UN World Health organization in 1962 in Geneva. At the UN-Headquarters in New York he worked in various areas in senior-level positions. Some of these sectors included: human resources management, budget and finance, and peacekeeping.

Kofi Annan was part of many important undertakings of the UN before becoming the UN Secretary General. For example, he initiated a project in which the profits of oil in Baghdad were put towards humanitarian causes. Once he became Secretary General Annan took on even more complicated political situations. He has worked with both Iraq, and Libya to try and get them to cooperate with the UN. Both countries were refusing to conform to Security Council resolutions. Annan was also a crucial actor when violence resumed in the Middle East in 2000. He promoted the Security Council’s standards, and tried to get Israelis and Palestinians to come to embrace their differences and achieve peace.

Annan was also committed to solving issues in Africa. He began the „Call to Action“ program in April 2001 to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic within Africa. With his support the program turned into the founding of the Global AIDS and Health Fund. Since its creation the Global AIDS and Health Fund has received approximately $1.5 billion in donations.

During his decade as UN Secretary General he had an unprecedented effect on international human rights. His initiation of the „Global Compact“ program is especially significant. This program encourages the international business community to uphold environmental regulations. He is also responsible for a report, which was the basis for the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Since 2007 he is the president of the World Organisation Against Torture and founded the Kofi Annan Foundation for peace building and sustainable development. He is a member of the Global Elders founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007.