Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan is dead. After a short illness, the global peace icon and a role model for leadership died peacefully at the age of 80 on Saturday 18th in a Switzerland hospital surrounded by his family. News of his death was received with sadness with many people across the world sending their messages of condolences. Here’s how the world mourned the death of former UN Secretary General – Kofi Annan.
As a distinguished former leader of the United Nations, Annan left a reputable legacy in the organization which he headed from 1997 to 2006. In a statement, António Guterres, the current UN Secretary General mourned him saying he was “a guiding force for good” and that in many ways, the UN was synonymous with Kofi Annan. “His legacy as a global champion will remain a true inspiration for us all,” added Guterres.
Former president, Barack Obama eulogized Annan as a friend who showed the world that no one can be too young to lead or be too old to learn. This was in reference to how Annan joined the UN at the young age of 24 and rose through the ranks to become secretary general. Obama said he was inspired by the lessons Annan shared which he had “earned through a lifetime spent working toward a better world.” The two had met during an African leaders convention last month.
Russian president Vladimir Putin also mourned Annan’s death saying, “I sincerely admired his wisdom and courage as well as his ability to make balanced decisions even under the most dire and critical circumstances. Russians will keep the memory of him forever.”
On Twitter, Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General praised Kofi Annan for his exceptional leadership saying, “His warmth should never be mistaken for weakness. Annan showed that one can be a great humanitarian and a strong leader at the same time.”
In Africa, Annan was mourned by leaders and normal citizens alike. This is especially because he was an African citizen who rose to become the first black secretary general of the UN. Ghana, the birth country of Annan has responded the death by declaring a national one week of mourning where flags in the country and in missions across the world will fly half-mast.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation released a statement saying, “We’re devastated. Africa and the world has lost a special human being.” Annan was also the chair of The Elders, an elite group founded by Nelson Mandela and which composed of former leaders. In their statement, The Elders expressed shock and sadness following the departure of their friend who was “a voice of great authority and wisdom in public and private.”
As countless other global leaders and normal citizens continue to send their messages of condolences via various media, Kofi Annan will be remembered for his soft and warm demeanor, firm and wise decisions and his endless desire for a peaceful world. He will be missed and remain in the hearts of many. He is survived by his wife Nane and three children.
According to the Kofi Annan Foundation, his family has requested for privacy as they mourn their loss. Funeral arrangements will also be announced later.