UN remembers Kofi Annan: A leader who put people at the centre of the Organization’s work

Former UN Secretary-General was remembered on Wednesday as the embodiment of the global Organization that works to improve the lives of men and women worldwide.

During a wreath-laying ceremony in New York, the current UN chief António Guterres led staff members in paying respects to the mild-mannered diplomat from Ghana who rose through the UN system to become its seventh leader in January 1997, serving two consecutive five-year terms.

“Kofi Annan’s years in office were an exciting time. He put forward new ideas. He brought new people into the United Nations family. He spoke passionately about our mission and role. He created a renewed sense of possibility both inside and outside our organization about what the UN could do and be for the world’s people,” said Mr. Guterres.

“His most defining features were his humanity and solidarity with those in need. He put people at the centre of the work of the United Nations, and was able to turn compassion into action across the UN system.”

Kofi Annan died on Saturday following a short illness. He was 80.

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