Kofi Annan

Feb. 6, 2005, midnight | By Fidan Karimova | 15 years, 9 months ago

Photo: Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary General of the U.N. and first man from sub-Saharan Africa to head the U.N.

Kofi Atta Annan is the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations (U.N.) and is the first man from the sub-Saharan Africa to head the U.N. He is fluent in English, French and several African languages.

Annan, whose name translates to "born on Friday," was born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8, 1938. He attended Mfantsipim School, an elite school in Cape Coast, and later said the school taught him that "suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere." Annan then attended the Kumsai College for Science and Technology, where he studied economics, and completed his undergraduate studies in Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He has been with the U.N. since 1962, when he first began working for the World Health Organization. In 1990, he negotiated the release of 900 international civil employees and citizens of western countries that were being held hostage in Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait. Between November of 1995 and March of 1996, Annan was the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Yugoslavia and was a supervisor in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On Dec. 13, 1996, he was selected to be the Secretary General in the U.N. Security Council.

In April of 2001, Annan made the HIV/AIDS problem his number one issue to solve in developing countries. That same year, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his dedication to achieving world peace and to bringing about social change.

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