Kofi Annan is a Ghanaian born diplomat who served at the United Nations as the seventh secretary general. Kofi Annan was born and brought up in Kumasi Ghana and later went and schooled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his early life, he studied economics and later went to study masters in management at the MIT Sloan School of management. Kofi Annan’s background is traced in Ghana since that is where he spend most of his early life and education at. However, his career picked up in the international bodies having begun working with the United Nations as a budget officer for the world health organization (Annan, 2014).
In his early career, he worked in numerous international bodies where he gained experience in management and leadership. He worked at the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as the head for personnel in the office in Geneva, he also became the director of administrative management of the United Nations secretariat. Kofi Annan has thus served in the international bodies where he gained experience and became a better leader as a result, he was appointed to become the seventh UN secretary general. Kofi Annan is thus an inspiring leader for the Africans since he succeeded in his career despite his background and race.
The United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization that was previously known as the League of Nations. The purpose for this organization is to promote international cooperation. Kofi Annan served the United Nations since 1962. The United Nations which has a total of 193 member states plays a very important role in uniting the world and its member countries. Some of the roles played by the body include ensuring that there is peace in its member states, aiding in case of disasters such as drought and famine and also fighting terrorism in the member states (Annan, 2014).
Kofi Annan’s role at the United Nations was important as he served the secretariat which is the administrative organ of the body. The United Nations is composed of the secretariat, the general assembly which is composed of all the member states, the international court of justice which decides on cases between states and recognize their jurisdiction, the UN security council which deals with all the international security issues, the UN social and economic council that deals with global economic and social affairs, and the UN trusteeship council which is meant to administer trust territories.
Kofi Annan’s leadership characteristics and philosophy
Some of the key leadership characteristics and philosophy that Kofi Annan had include;
Inspiring – Kofi Annan was an inspiring leader since most of the people looked forward to be in his position. He served in a very powerful body and his display of work and rise from one level to another brought a lot of impact especially to the school going students who grow up aspiring to be that way. In areas like Africa, where the people view some posts as meant for the white race only, children and students were inspired and wished to be like him in the long run. He, additionally, brought the belief that no matter where you come from, success will be what a person make.
Forward looking – Kofi Annan is the type of leader that sets goals and looks at them to be successful in the future. He thus sets goals and aims at achieving them in the long run. For example, his decision to mediate in Kenya during the post-election violence, he succeeded in stopping the violence that was consuming the lives of people in the country. Effective leaders always envision what they want to achieve in the long run (Annan & Mousavizadeh, 2013).
Kofi Annan’s major philosophy was with regards to education. He states that education is important for progress in every society since knowledge is power and information is liberating. Moreover, Kofi Annan believed that education is a human right that has power to transform a person from one point to another. As a result, he advocated for equal rights to education for both girls and boys especially in the African nations where girls seemed neglected due to traditions. Kofi Annan’s philosophies thus worked at helping the children receive proper education that would make their future better and achieve their dreams in the long run (Traub, 2014).
Why Kofi Annan is effective in a multicultural setting?
Kofi Annan is effective in multicultural setting since he has worked in several countries thus getting to interact with different people with different ideologies that have helped him achieve his goals. Some of the reasons to why he is effective in multi-cultural setting include the following;
Kofi Annan lead the UNHCR
Kofi Annan headed this body that was in charge of protecting the human rights. The body served as a safe haven for refugees from different areas. War torn countries create a hostile environment for their people who run away and move to peaceful countries that would provide for them their basic needs. Additionally, he worked at ensuring that every country under the United Nations had the obligation of hosting refugees from different countries. This would help reduce the numbers of refugees in some places where war is continuous. Kofi Annan management in dealing with this case then shows that he can fit in a multicultural setting since it involved all types of people, that is, people escaping from war in Africa, Europe and Middle East (Traub, 2014).
He led some successful peace keeping missions
During his tenure, he successfully led some peace keeping missions which he proved that he was capable of dealing with disputes. For example, in 2007, he successfully manage to make the two presidential candidates sign a peace agreement that led to the stop of post-election violence in Kenya. This peace mission was later followed by international actions of punishing the perpetrators of the violence by opening cases against them at the international court of justice in The Hague, Netherlands. As a result, Kofi Annan’s efforts to see peace in one of the UN member state were successful and he also worked at ensuring that there was justice for the people who suffered from this violence (Annan & Mousavizadeh, 2013).
Kofi Annan was appointed to lead the UN
This being one of the most important roles to be played in the UN, he was thus one of the most powerful persons in the world. This shows that his leadership skills were at the best standards that resulted to him being allowed to take over the leadership of the UN. Consequently, he showed that he deserved the post by proving a very good leadership to the people in the long run. In his role, he succeeded in several activities which include; promoting civil rule in Nigeria, he managed to fight poverty in the member states to some extent, he fought to reduce the incidences of HIV/AIDS and also to improve education among the member states.
In conclusion, Kofi Annan is one of the prominent leaders that a large number of student and leader is looking to be like him. He has inspired several people through his success and growth to become the leader of the UN in the world. He is thus a leader that fits in all cultural backgrounds and can easily match the expectations of people. Additionally, his efforts have been recognized by numerous awards one of them being the Nobel peace prize in 2001 which he received as a co-recipient of the United Nations (Annan & Mousavizadeh, 2013).
- Annan, K. A. (2014). We the peoples: A UN for the 21st century. Boulder, London: Paradigm Publishers.
- Traub, J. (2014). The best intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the era of American world power. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing
- Annan, K. A., & Mousavizadeh, N. (2013). Interventions: A life in war and peace. s.l.: Penguin books ltd.