The Ghanaian-born diplomat’s rise subsequently saw him assume powerful positions such as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006.
Here are a few highlights from Annan’s career:
1. The first UN staffer to be elected Secretary-General
Having began his career in 1962 when he joined the the World Health Organisation – an agency of the UN – as a budget officer, he assumed other positions within the body in Geneva and New York, before rising up the ranks to become the first employee of the organisation to become Secretary-General. During this period, Annan was tasked with reforming and revitalising the body, with the aim of improving its effectiveness.
2. The Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council were launched during his tenure
During Annan’s tenure as Secretary-General, the Member States established the Peacebuilding Commission in 2005 and the Human Rights Council in 2006, inter-governmental bodies that would go on to support peace efforts in regions experiencing conflict and the promotion of human rights across the world respectively.
3. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
“For their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”, Annan and the UN were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. In his acceptance speech, Annan said: “Peace must be sought, above all, because it is the condition for every member of the human family to live a life of dignity and security.”