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.
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.
Kofi A. Annan was the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and is the founder and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. In 2001, he and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Kofi Annan was praised for being “pre-eminent in bringing new life to the organization” (Norwegian Nobel Committee, October 2001).
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.
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.
The Foundation works to identify new threats to peace and security and supports Mr. Annan’s preventive diplomacy and mediation activities. Kofi Annan chaired the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security (March 2011 to September 2012) and in January 2013, launched the West Africa Commission on Drugs, as a response to the surge in drug trafficking and consumption in West Africa and their impact on security, governance and public health. The Foundation also works with select partner organizations to amplify Kofi Annan’s voice and catalyse effective action on the promotion of food and nutrition security, sustainable development, and support for good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Mr. Annan is the founding Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which works for a food secure and prosperous Africa by promoting rapid, sustainable agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers. AGRA’s programmes invest in soil regeneration and health, improved seeds, access to markets, and building capacity and investment throughout the agricultural value-chain.
He chairs the African Progress Panel, which advocates at the highest level for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. The Panel includes distinguished individuals from the public and private sector and publishes an annual Africa progress report.
He is an active member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights, and in 2013 was appointed its Chair.
Kofi Annan is currently Chancellor of the University of Ghana, and has held a number of positions at Universities around the world.
He is a board member, patron or honorary member of a number of organizations, including the United Nations Foundation.
Kofi Annan’s widely acclaimed memoir: Interventions: A Life in War and Peace was published in 2012.
Mr. Annan was UN Secretary General from January 1997 to December 2006. One of his main priorities during this period was a comprehensive program of reform that sought to revitalize the United Nations and make the international system more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the organization closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.
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.
Mr. Annan undertook wide-ranging diplomatic initiatives. In 1998, he helped to ease the transition to civilian rule in Nigeria. In the same year, he visited Iraq to resolve an impasse between Iraq and the Security Council over compliance with resolutions on weapons inspections and other matters; this effort helped to avoid an outbreak of hostilities which was imminent at that time. In 1999, he was deeply involved in the diplomatic process that led to Timor-Leste’s independence from Indonesia. He was responsible for certifying Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and in 2006 his efforts contributed to securing a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah. Also in 2006, he mediated a settlement of the dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula.
Mr. Annan’s efforts to strengthen the Organization’s management, coherence and accountability involved major investments in training and technology, the introduction of a new whistleblower policy and financial disclosure requirements, and steps to improve co-ordination at country level.
Kofi Annan joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva. He later served with the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, the UN Emergency Force (UNEF II) in Ismailia, the United nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, and in various senior posts in New York dealing with human resources, budget, finance, and staff security. Immediately before becoming Secretary-General, he was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping. Kofi Annan facilitated the repatriation from Iraq of more than 900 international staff and other non-Iraqi nationals (1990) and also served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia and Special Envoy to NATO (1995-1996).