Interventions: A Life in War and Peace
With over four decades of service at the United Nations, including a decade as Secretary-General, Kofi Annan has been at the forefront of recent history’s most significant events and conflicts. In this moving speech based on his memoir, he candidly discusses the highs and lows of his years at the center of the world stage and the lessons they have taught him. He reflects on shuttle-diplomacy during crises such as Kosovo, Lebanon and Israel-Palestine, the wrenching battles over the war in Iraq, and the role of the UN in combating AIDS and endemic poverty. He provides a behind-the-scenes view of global diplomacy during one of the most consequential periods of recent history, and shares the five key lessons of diplomacy gleaned from his career.
Building Strong Nations: The Three Pillars To A Fairer, Secure Society
Drawing on his experiences as a diplomat who has worked for decades to strengthen international cooperation and global welfare, Kofi Annan discusses the three pillars that are key to developing healthy and prosperous societies. In this powerful speech, Annan sheds light on global economic, social and environmental issues, and offers wisdom to inspire stronger nations—and a healthier global community.
Leadership and Governance for the Challenges of the 21st Century
In this speech, Kofi Annan draws on the lessons from his time as Secretary-General of the United Nations to discuss the importance and characteristics of good governance. He discusses the challenges and opportunities that both corporate and political leaders will face in coming years, and the tools and strategies required to meet these demands moving forward. He calls for increased partnerships and cooperation between the public and private sectors, and stronger alliances with members of civil society. He notes the importance of transparent decision making in all sectors, strong institutions, and respect for the Rule of Law, and calls for the empowerment of the next generation of leaders.
In the context of a rapidly evolving global environment, Kofi Annan provides an overview of the impact and drivers of recent political, economic, and social transformations around the world. Drawing on his years of experience at the highest levels of international diplomacy, Annan discusses the importance of significant geopolitical trends including recent upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa, the changing balance of power in East Asia, the lingering impact of the global financial crisis, and the spread of democracy around the world. He provides a guide to charting and managing these changes in a way that builds a fairer, more secure world for all.
Challenging Businesses to Become Leaders in Sustainable Development
Throughout his career, Kofi Annan has consistently championed the importance of economic, social and environmental sustainability and inspires audiences around the world to do the same. In this speech, he reiterates the responsibility of businesses and individuals to make positive contributions to the communities in which they operate. He discusses the role of business in eradicating poverty, redressing income inequality, promoting environmental sustainability, and contributing to productive and inclusive economic growth by creating decent employment, particularly for the young.
Africa's Unparalleled Potential
Reflecting on the incredible transformation Africa has undergone in recent years, Kofi Annan assesses the progress made, the challenges that remain, and the incredible potential that exists in the continent. He discusses Africa’s economic transformation, the growth of the continent’s middle class, the continued struggle to combat diseases such as malaria and HIV/Aids, and the increased role the continent is playing in global affairs. In the context of an expanding global population and an increasingly volatile global climate, he highlights the role that Africa can play in achieving global food and nutrition security.
A Conscientious Leader
Kofi Annan first joined the staff of the United Nations in 1962, when he went to work at the World Health Organization in Geneva. That path led him to leadership positions in a range of departments at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, as well as special assignments abroad, especially in global hotspots. At Mr. Annan’s initiative, UN peacekeeping was strengthened, enabling the United Nations to manage a larger number of operations and personnel. It was also at his urging that, in 2005, Member States established two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. Mr. Annan played a central role in creating the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, adoption of the UN’s first-ever counter-terrorism strategy, and in securing the acceptance by Member States that they have a “responsibility to protect” people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. His “Global Compact” initiative, launched in 1999, has become the world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility.In 2001, Mr. Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the citation praising his leadership for "bringing new life to the organization."
A Lifelong Diplomat
Since leaving the United Nations, Kofi Annan has been active pressing for policies that will meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly in Africa. He continues to use his experience to mediate and resolve conflict. He has also continued to use his experience to mediate and resolve conflict. In early 2008, he led the African Union’s Panel of Eminent African Personalities, which mediated a peaceful resolution to post-election violence in Kenya. From February to August 2012, he was the UN–Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria, mandated to seek a resolution to the conflict there.
In 2007, Kofi Annan set up the Kofi Annan Foundation to promote better global governance and strengthen the capacities of people and countries to achieve a fairer, more secure world. In addition to his work with the Kofi Annan Foundation, Mr. Annan serves as the Chairman of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as an active member of the Elders. He is also a Board member, Patron or Honorary member of a number of organizations. Mr. Annan currently serves as the Chancellor of the University of Ghana, a Global Fellow at Columbia University in the United States, and Li Ka Shing Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.