Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

The Bruno Kreisky Foundation mourns the loss of Kofi Anan and Uri Avnery, who passed away on August 18 and 20, respectively

Kofi Annan

Born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8, 1938, Annan graduated from Kumasi University of Science and Technology and completed his undergraduate degree in economics at Macalester College in the United States in 1961. From 1961 to 1962 he completed bachelor's degrees in economics at Institut universitaire des hautes études Internationales in Geneva. As a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1971-1972), Annan received a Master of Science in Management.

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.


Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery was born on September 10, 1923 to a Jewish family in Beckum, Germany. When he was ten, his family moved to Israel to escape Nazi rule.

Avnery founded Gush Shalom in 1993 because he felt that the other peace groups were not strong enough to effectively oppose Yitzhak Rabin's new government. Gush Shalom means Peace Block. This organization strives for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. She is not affiliated with any political party and her focus is changing public opinion in Israel. Gush Shalom recommends the "Green Line" that existed before 1967, with Jerusalem as the capital of both countries. Gush Shalom has only a few hundred active members but is supported by thousands of people. Not only do they organize many protests against human rights violations in Israel, but also training programs for peace activities. Uri Avnery became known as an author with his book In the Fields of the Philistines. It is a diary from the 1948 war. In the years that followed, he acquired the journal haOlam haZeh and remained its editor-in-chief for forty years. In it, he proves the government's cases of corruption. The government threatened him with the dissolution of the newspaper. As a result, supporters of the magazine founded a political party that even won a seat in the Knesset in 1965. Avnery himself was a member of the Knesset for ten years. He currently writes a weekly online column that Gush Shalom publishes. Here he discusses important political issues.