UN Foundation Board Mourns Loss of Kofi Annan, “A Fearless Champion for the Powerless”


Washington, D.C.

August 18, 2018


Megan Rabbitt

The UN Foundation Board today released the following statement in response to news of the death of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a UN Foundation Board Member since 2007.

“We are devastated by the loss of Kofi Annan – our fellow Board member, former Secretary-General, and friend. Kofi was a towering figure whose deep humanity, compassion, and courage inspired everyone whose life he touched. We are privileged to have worked with such an honorable man and visionary leader. His achievements will not be forgotten, nor will his impact on history.

“Kofi led the United Nations into the modern era and shaped the best of what it stands for today. He insisted on holding the UN to the highest standards and was relentless when it fell short. We pay tribute to his tireless efforts to fight for peace, justice and human dignity. He believed that anyone could take a stand, make a difference, and help create a better world for all – especially women and young people – and he always took time and effort to listen to those who too often went unheard. In his own story, he showed us all how a life well-lived could be a powerful force for good. There was not a part of the world he left untouched.

“His loss on the eve of World Humanitarian Day, when we remember the service and sacrifice of humanitarians and peacemakers around the world, reminds us only further of his life and leadership. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Nane, children and grandchildren and all those who knew and served alongside him. He will be forever remembered.”

Ted Turner, UN Foundation Founder and Chairman, said: “Kofi Annan was a friend and a champion for peace. He opened the doors of the UN to me and millions of others who have been inspired by the UN’s values. He challenged us to help make a difference for the world, and he led with a formidable combination of compassion, fierceness and hope. We will miss him greatly.”

During his tenure as Secretary-General, Kofi Annan led one of the most comprehensive efforts to revitalize the United Nations and make the international system more effective. He strengthened UN peacekeeping, adopted the UN’s first-ever counter-terrorism strategy, and led Member States to adopt the “responsibility to protect” framework that addressed genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. In addition, he helped establish the Global Fund to fight Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria, and launched the Global Compact initiative that continues to encourage corporate social responsibility.

In 2001, the UN and Kofi Annan were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee commended Annan for “bringing new life to the organization,” balancing the UN’s traditional role in peace and security with greater emphasis on human rights across the world.

The members of the UN Foundation Board are: Founder and Chairman Ted Turner (United States); Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (Jordan); Valerie Amos (United Kingdom); Fábio Barbosa (Brazil); Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway); Kathy Calvin (United States); Julio Frenk (Mexico); Igor Ivanov (Russia); N.R. Narayana Murthy (India); Hisashi Owada (Japan); Hans Vestberg (Sweden); Timothy E. Wirth (United States); Yuan Ming (China); and Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh).


About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: www.unfoundation.org.