Honouring Kofi Annan’s legacy and vision

August 21, 2018

It is with extraordinary sadness that the Board, staff and local teams in the field mourn the loss of Kofi Annan who was one of the great diplomats of our time and a uniquely respected moral voice in a world adrift.

Those of us who worked for or with Kofi remember his profound humanity alongside his grace, humility and caring manner.  He succeeded beyond the expectations of many to infuse these great qualities into the United Nations, the complex and political organization he led for ten years. He never lost sight of the human beings that would be affected by his decisions but he also knew the limits of what the UN could achieve, knowing that people everywhere want to take their destiny into their own hands.

When Kofi began his first mandate as Secretary-General of the UN in 1997, “peacebuilding” was still a young concept. He knew that breaking cycles of violence required a willingness to take risks. It also required bending the institution to meet the needs of the mission rather than the other way around. And so it was that many of the most experimental and risk-taking efforts of the UN found support from the top. It was indeed on his watch that “peacebuilding” as we now know it came to embed itself in the UN’s institutional fabric.

It was also this spirit of innovation and risk taking that offered an enabling environment for Interpeace to take root and grow within the system, following our inception as a UN pilot research project in 1994. During his tenure, the culture of creativity he inspired and the support he offered shaped the organization we are today. Our approach is different depending on the situations we encounter: we bend to the needs of each society.

We hope that in continuing to keep the human being at the heart of the effort to build peace, we can honour Kofi’s legacy and vision.

We extend our sincere condolences to Kofi’s family and the friends and colleagues of the Kofi Annan Foundation. We join you in mourning this most remarkable man.

Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

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