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KOFI ANNAN Printer Friendly Page

Major Introductory Resource:

Profile: Kofi Annan
By BBC News
October 2, 2006


Additional Resources:

No Knight in Shining Armor
By Nile Gardiner
October 29, 2007

The Elders' Protocols
By Joseph Klein
July 23, 2007

The Other Brown
By Nile Gardiner
July 2, 2007

A New Course for the UN?
By Joseph Klein
January 9, 2007

Good Riddance! Kofi Annan's U.N. Has Produced More Scandal than Peace
By Jack Kelly
December 18, 2006

Kofi and U.N. 'Ideals'
By Wall Street Journal
December 14, 2006

Mr. Baker, Remember Iraq in '91?
By Jonathan Gurwitz
December 13, 2006

Annan's Legacy
By NRO Symposium
December 12, 2006

Opportunity Lost
By Claudia Rosett
December 12, 2006

Fake Out
By Anne Bayefsky
December 12, 2006

Kofi Annan's Legacy of Failure
By Nile Gardiner
December 11, 2006

Annan's Financial Form to Be Secret
By Betsy Pisik
October 4, 2006

The UN's Kofi
By Joseph Klein
September 19, 2006

U.N.'s Kofi Annan Cashes In With Two Pensions
By Stewart Stogel
September 14, 2006

About that Mercedes?
By Claudia Rosett
September 13, 2006

The Coronation of Kofi
By Caroline B. Glick
September 8, 2006

Kofi Annan’s “Coward Diplomacy”
By Thomas Kilgannon
September 5, 2006

The UN Shield for Terror
By Joseph Klein
August 11, 2006

Annan, UN Under Fire for Stance on Israel
By Patrick Goodenough
August 11, 2006

Dealing with the Devil
By Anne Bayefsky
August 7, 2006

The U.N.'s Complicity in Hezbollah Kidnappings
By Julia Weller
August 2, 2006

Kofi Annan's Latest Big Lie
By Joseph Klein
July 31, 2006

How the UN Legitimizes Terrorists
By Alan M. Dershowitz
July 26, 2006

Kofi Annan Could Have Ordered Peacekeepers to Leave
By Julie Stahl
July 26, 2006

Who’s Dissin’ Whom
By Claudia Rosett
July 26, 2006

Kofi 'Inane' and the United Nazis Latest Blood Libel : Falsely Accuses Israel of Targetting UN
Militant Islam Monitor
July 26, 2006

We Take it Back
By James Taranto
July 26, 2006

Then and Now
By Thomas Sowell
July 25, 2006

Malignant Neglect
By Joseph Klein
July 24, 2006

A Slip of the Tongue Can Tell You a Lot
By Wesley Pruden
July 18, 2006

No Territory for Terrorists
By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
July 18, 2006

There Is Good News
By Jeff Emanuel
July 5, 2006

United in Greed, Divided it Falls
By Mark Steyn
August 16, 2005

Oil for Food as Usual
By WSJ Opinion Journal
September 9, 2005

Israel Takes Charge
By Mike Gallagher
July 14, 2006

Kofi Annan's Conflicts of Interest Must Be Investigated
By Nile Gardiner
May 12, 2006

Report Criticizes Annan, U.N. Security Council in Oil-for-Food Scandal
By Eric Shawn and Lisa Porteus
September 7, 2005

Oil-for-Food Report Says U.N. Needs Total Overhaul
By Warren Hoge
September 7, 2005

Why Kofi Can't Fix the UN
By Peter Brookes
September 22, 2005

UN: Corruption Personified
By Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu
September 14, 2005

What a Bunch of Winners
By Claudia Rosett
May 3, 2006

Leftist MisUNderstanding of Iraq
By Joseph Klein
June 19, 2006

The Unreality of U.N. Reform
By Claudia Rosett
June 12, 2006

The United Nations in Your Wallet
By Sally McNamara
May 26, 2006

U.N.fit for Leadership
By Anne Bayefsky
May 22, 2006

Please Understand: They Aren't Civilized, and Dialogue Won't Cut It
By James Lileks
April 26, 2006

Kofi Annan's Test
By Joseph Klein
May 8, 2006

Kofi Annan's Palestinian Seminar
By Joseph Klein
May 1, 2006

Partners in Evil
By Joseph Klein
April 17, 2006

Kofi Annan: Hamas? Terrorist?
By Joseph Klein
February 6, 2006

Kofi Annan's Tortured Logic
By Joseph Klein
February 20, 2006

Alliance of Civilizations?
By Joseph Klein
March 29, 2006

U.N.'s Kofi Annan Staggers Into Final Year
By Stewart Stogel with Jim Meyers
December 29, 2005

Cash-for-Kofi
By Claudia Rosett
February 27, 2006

Stale Kofi
By Claudia Rosett
April 20, 2005

Come Clean, Kofi
By Claudia Rosett
November 17, 2004

The Blow-Up
By Claudia Rosett
December 22, 2005

Is Kofi Krumbling?
By Jed Babbin
March 30, 2005

Kofi's U.N. Charm Offensive
By Jonathan Tobin
October 24, 2005

The Mercedes Monologues
Claudia Rosett
November 18, 2005

Mercedes Mystery
By Claudia Rosett
November 14, 2005

Doing Business with Iran
By Anne Bayefsky
January 16, 2006

Don't Let Kofi Annan Destroy Oil-for-Food Documents
By Marshall Manson
December 5, 2005

In Deep Trouble
By Claudia Rosett
March 23, 2005

“Impartial” to Genocide
By Joel Mowbray
February 28, 2005

Kofi Annan's "Illegal" War on Democratic Iraq
By Ben Johnson
September 20, 2004

Politely Eliminating Israel
By Daniel Pipes
December 13, 2005

Kofi's Other Blind Spot
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
April 22, 2005

Oil-for-Food Probe Has Not Cleared Annan, Volcker Says
By David Sands
April 27, 2005

The U.N.'s Spreading Bribery Scandal: Russian Ties and Global Reach
By George Russell and Claudia Rosett
September 7, 2005

Kofi's Internet
By Neal Boortz
April 2, 2004

Bill Clinton Defends Bush on Iraq
By Larry Elder
August 1, 2003

Human Wrongs
By Anne Bayefsky
April 28, 2003


Click here to view a sample Profile.

Annan's Visual Map
 

  • Secretary General of the United Nations
  • “I think I can do business” with Saddam Hussein
  • Oversaw the scandal-ridden U.N. Oil-for-Food program


Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving two five-year terms, from January 1, 1997 to January 1, 2007. Annan replaced departing Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt, becoming the first person from a black African nation to serve as Secretary-General of the UN. On December 10, 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee said that Annan "had been pre-eminent in bringing new life to the Organization."

Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8, 1938, to Henry Reginald Annan and his wife Victoria. He was born into an elite family in the Akan ethnic group, the largest of Ghana’s indigenous tribes. Annan had two grandfathers and an uncle who were chiefs of tribes deeply involved in Ghana's gold trading. When his father retired as an export manager for Lever Brothers, he (the father) was elected governor of Ghana's Asante province.

Annan in 1954 entered the elite Mfantsipim School, a Methodist boarding school, which to this day he credits with teaching him "that suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere." His first political activity was organizing a successful hunger strike by students seeking better cafeteria food there.

Annan began his higher education in 1958, studying for a degree in economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology (which was later renamed the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana, after the Communist-allied founder of the All-African People's Revolutionary Party). With the help of a grant from the Ford Foundation, Annan later completed his undergraduate degree in economics from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1961. In 1961 and 1962 he studied economics at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes in Geneva, Switzerland. As a 1971-1972 Sloan Fellow, Annan earned a Master of Science degree in Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He speaks fluent English, French and several African languages.

Annan joined the United Nations system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization (WHO). Promoted rapidly through many different UN offices, he was appointed Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations in March 1992 and Under-Secretary-General in March 1993. Later that year, Annan was promoted by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to the top post for Peacekeeping.

In 1994 Annan was criticized by Canadian ex-General Roméo Dallaire, who was force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Dallaire alleged that Annan had been largely unreceptive to calls for UN troops to be sent to quell the genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi minority by members of the Hutu majority. Dallaire maintained that Annan particularly had failed to respond to calls asking for admittance to a weapons depository, which could have aided in the defense of the threatened Tutsis. Annan’s reputation for being too passive in the face of military conflict would haunt him throughout his career.

By 1995, Annan oversaw 70,000 military and civilian personnel from 77 countries working in 17 peacekeeping operations worldwide, and was credited with successes in Bosnia-Herzegovina and failures in Somalia.

On December 13, 1996, the United Nations Security Council recommended Annan for the position of Secretary-General, to which he was confirmed four days later by a vote of the General Assembly. Annan began his first term as Secretary-General on January 1, 1997.

In his personal life, Annan is married to lawyer-artist-author Nane Annan, the half-niece of anti-Nazi human rights activist and defender of Jews Raoul Wallenberg, who died in Soviet captivity. They are the parents of three children.

One of those children, son Kojo, was employed by the Swiss company Cotecna until approximately 1998, when he left and became a contract consultant. Soon thereafter (in 1998), this company was appointed by the United Nations to administer the flow of $100 billion in the UN-overseen Oil-for-Food program in Iraq.

This program was supposed to provide food and other necessities for impoverished people in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which was then under international embargo for refusing to disarm and to allow unfettered UN weapons inspections in the wake of the first Gulf War. The program was to allow the sale of a certain amount of Iraqi oil, and to ensure that revenues from those sales not be used by Hussein to acquire weapons or enrich himself.

This Oil-for-Food program was ultimately under the direct control of Kofi Annan, who signed off on every aspect of it, including the selection of a company with links to his son to administer it. The program's Executive Director, Benon Sevan, was a veteran diplomat and close friend hand-picked for the job by Annan.

And Annan, according to his official UN biography, "led the first United Nations team negotiating with Iraq on the sale of oil to fund purchases of humanitarian aid" long before he became Secretary-General. He fully understood the issues involved and the potential for corruption.

In 1998 Annan met with Saddam Hussein to discuss the Iraqi leader’s failure to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions set forth after the Gulf War. During the meeting, Saddam protested the economic sanctions imposed by the UN on Iraq. In turn, Annan criticized Saddam for having refused to permit UN arms inspectors to properly carry out their investigations. In the end, Annan failed in his diplomatic efforts, and on December 16, 1998, the UN ordered all weapons inspectors out of Iraq.

Despite the setback, Hussein and Annan developed a mutual admiration, and Annan managed to gain the respect of the Iraqi leader, who even invited him back to Iraq for a vacation. Of Hussein, Annan said, "Saddam is very calm and polite … But if you mistake his calmness, soft-spokenness for weakness, you're in trouble."

Despite Iraq’s continued failure to comply with UN resolutions calling for the return of weapon inspectors, Annan stipulated that the U.S. and its allies should not invade Iraq without the support of the UN.  The UN, however, was becoming increasingly irrelevant with each resolution Hussein ignored.

On October 11, 2002, the U.S. Congress granted President Bush the authority to attack Iraq if Hussein did not openly give up his weapons programs. On November 9, 2002, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441, offering Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" that had been laid out in ten previous resolutions -- specifically, to provide "an accurate full, final, and complete disclosure ... of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles." Iraq once again failed to comply, and on March 19, 2003, the U.S.-led coalition launched its invasion.

By 2004 a major scandal began to emerge involving the Oil-for-Food program. Evidence suggests that perhaps $10 billion was diverted or skimmed from the program in various ways. Contracts were signed with companies that did not even exist, or that apparently charged inflated prices and kicked back part of the gain to Saddam Hussein (and perhaps to UN officials also). Many of these companies were based in Russia and France, both of which have veto power on the UN Security Council, and both of which opposed U.S. efforts to remove Hussein from power.

Among the biggest oil beneficiaries of the UN program reportedly was a close political and financial advisor to [French] President Jacques Chirac, Patrick Maugein, CEO of the oil firm SOCO International. Other contracts were with companies that had close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Investigator Claudia Rosett of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Hudson Institute described the Oil-for-Food program as a "tidal wave of graft." It was Kofi Annan's man Sevan, noted Rosett, who "began treating as confidential such vital information as the names of specific contractors, quantities of goods, and prices paid," thereby deliberately making outside scrutiny of the program difficult.

Annan, who famously said "I think I can do business" with Saddam Hussein, said he wanted an investigation of the Oil-for-Food program, but the United Nations subsequently refused to turn over its documents to independent investigators and auditors. The Swiss company Cotecna and the key French bank BNP Paribas likewise refused to turn over their records. All insisted upon doing their own internal audits with no outside scrutiny.

Whatever money was stolen or misused in the UN Oil-for-Food program was stolen from the poor and needy people of Iraq. Evidence suggests it was Kofi Annan's lack of proper oversight of the program that -- whether through corruption or incompetence or both -- may have prevented those people from getting the supplies they needed.

"It is highly possible there has been quite a lot of wrongdoing," Annan said of the Oil-for-Food scandal. In April of 2004, he finally appointed an independent, high-level inquiry committee into the alleged abuses of the program. In its final report the committee did find fault with the program's Executive Director, Benon Sevan, but cited insufficient evidence to indict Annan on any illegality.

On September 19, 2006, Annan delivered his farewell address at the UN headquarters in New York, prior to his official retirement on December 31. In that address, Annan pointed to the three major troubles he believes are still affecting humanity: "an unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law.”

Annan's successor as UN Secretary General was Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea, who took over the position on January 1, 2007. At the time of his election to this post, Mr. Ban was the Republic of Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Once retired, Annan returned to his native Ghana. In 2007 he was selected for the MacArthur Foundation Award for International Justice, in honor of his "life work" which "embodies the values of justice and human rights and the eternal hope for a humane, peaceful world that justice makes possible."

Also in 2007, Annan founded the Global Humanitarian Forum, an international project dedicated to dealing with “the mega-disasters from [the Indian Ocean] tsunami to Katrina to the Asian earthquake.”

In January 2014, Annan traveled to Iran with several members of the so-called "Elders" -- an independent group, founded by Nelson Mandela, of global leaders "who work together for peace and human rights." One of the Elders who accompanied Annan on the trip was Desmond Tutu. According to Iranian media, the trip began “with a visit to the mausoleum of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini” where the former UN Secretary General “praised the role of the Islamic Republic, especially in the area of ​​peace.” Fars News described Annan as “paying tribute” to the Ayatollah.

In Ghana, the Asante King has given Kofi Annan a title usually reserved for kings -- Busumuru, which means “wise advisor.”

 

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