Kofi Annan, Diplomat Who Redefined the U.N., Dies at 80

Kofi Atta Annan was born on April eight, 1938, in the metropolis of Kumasi in what was then Gold Coast and which, in 1957, turned Ghana, the first African state to attain independence from British colonialism. Born into an aristocratic household, he had three sisters, two of them older. The third, Efua, was a twin who died in the 1990s.

After a spell at the elite Mfantsipim boarding faculty based by Methodists, he went on to greater training as an economist in Ghana, at Macalester College in St. Paul, in Geneva, and at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

In 1965, he married Titi Alakija, a lady from a affluent Nigerian household. The couple had two kids, a daughter, Ama, and a son, Kojo. The marriage foundered in the late 1970s.

In 1984, Mr. Annan married Ms. Lagergren, a divorced lawyer working at the United Nations. She, too, was a scion of a outstanding household, a niece of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who protected hundreds of Hungarian Jews throughout World War II however disappeared after being captured by Soviet forces. Ms. Lagergren had a daughter, Nina, from her first marriage.

Most of Mr. Annan’s working life was spent in the corridors and convention rooms of the United Nations, however, he advised the creator Philip Gourevitch in 2003, “I feel profoundly African, my roots are deeply African, and the things I was taught as a child are very important to me.”

His first appointment with a United Nations company was in 1962, at the World Health Organization in Geneva. Mr. Annan returned briefly to Ghana to advertise tourism and labored in Ethiopia with the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa earlier than returning to the physique’s European headquarters. Later, in New York, he labored at first in senior human assets and budgetary positions, and, in the early 1990s, the former secretary common, Boutros Boutros Ghali of Egypt, appointed him first as deputy, then as head of peacekeeping operations.

The appointment plunged Mr. Annan right into a maelstrom of conflicts the place United Nations forces have been deployed. As genocide approached Rwanda in 1994 — months after the downing of a Black Hawk helicopter in Mogadishu, Somalia, and the killing of American service personnel — the Clinton administration in Washington had little urge for food for intervention.

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