Crisis Group is deeply saddened at the passing of Kofi Annan. In addition to his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations, The Elders and the Kofi Annan Foundation, Mr. Annan served as a Crisis Group board member between 2008 and 2014. He was an admired colleague, mentor and inspiration to countless members of our board and staff. We will miss him.
Throughout his career, Mr. Annan was a tireless advocate for peace. As UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006, during which time he and the UN received the Nobel Peace prize, he oversaw a major expansion of UN peacemaking worldwide and brought steady and principled leadership during the Iraq war. His strong ideals, empathy and pragmatism, his commitment to multilateralism and his willingness to speak to everyone, embody the values to which Crisis Group aspires.
Crisis Group’s ties to Mr. Annan were many. Two former Crisis Group presidents and several board members served at the UN during his tenure. Louise Arbour was the organisation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and joined Mr. Annan on the Global Commission for Elections, Democracy and Security set up by his foundation. Jean-Marie Guéhenno served as Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping and as Mr. Annan’s deputy as Syria envoy.
The Chairman of Crisis Group’s board, Mark Malloch-Brown, who was Deputy Secretary-General under Mr. Annan, said, “Kofi touched so many lives. Across the UN community he was loved for his gentility and compassion - and for being one of us. Beyond, he was admired for his quiet firmness under fire, his simple eloquence that earned him a global voice, his patient but unrelenting diplomacy and his passion for what the UN should be. For those of us privileged to be close to him, he changed each of us by the way he led. He had a humanity that embraced the world, but bigger than that included concern for each and every one of us as well as our families”.
As Comfort Ero, Crisis Group's Africa Director and a former UN staff member, put it, “In a world where multilateralism is under severe strain this is such a sad loss. Mr. Annan was one of its biggest defenders. Africa and the world have lost one of their finest statesmen”. Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s President, said, “The world has lost a larger-than-life figure whose authority, warmth and wisdom touched all those whom he met. The thoughts and the condolences of all Crisis Group’s board and staff members are with Mr. Annan’s family and his colleagues at The Elders and Kofi Annan Foundation”.
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