It was at his elite boarding school in West Africa that Kofi Annan — the man who would later become the world’s top diplomat — learnt one of his most important lessons.
It was, he said later, “that suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere”.
The idea seems to have inspired Annan throughout a life which saw him play a key role in the crises which have shaped the world, from the HIV/Aids pandemic, to the Iraq War and climate change.
Kofi Atta Annan and his sister, Efua Atta, were born in the city of Kumasi in what was then Gold Coast in April 1938.
The twins’ first names meant “born on a Friday” in Akan, while their shared middle name means “twin”.
Below are the years that mark Annan life’s journey:
1938: Born in Kumasi, now Ghana’s second city.
1962: Starts working at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland
1965: Weds Titi Alakija. They have two children, a boy and a girl
1984: Marries Nane Lagergren, having divorced a year earlier
1991: Twin sister Efua dies
1993: Becomes head of peacekeeping operations
1997: Appointed seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations
2001: Wins Nobel Peace Prize
2006: Steps down as secretary-general after 10 years
2012: Becomes UN/Arab League Joint Special Envoy on the Syrian crisis
2013: Made chair of The Elders, a peace and human rights advocacy group
2016: Leads the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, Myanmar
2018: Dies peacefully in Switzerland.
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