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A collection of quotes and thoughts by Kofi Annan on ignorance, racism, tolerance, prejudice, rights, literacy, equality, inspiration, love, politics, war and life.

44 Thought-Provoking Kofi Annan Quotes On Peace, Love And Harmony

Quick Facts

Famous As
Former UN Secretary General

Born On
08 April 1938 AD

Died On
18 August 2018 AD

Born In
Comassie, Gold Coast

Died At Age
80

Kofi Atta Annan was the seventeenth Secretary-General of the United Nations. He received the ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ in 2001. Annan was one of the 12 honorary members of the non-profit organization - ‘The Elders’, which was initiated by Nelson Mandela to resolve some of the world's most intractable conflicts. He was also the founding chairman of the ‘Kofi Annan Foundation’, whose fundamental aim is to promote global peace and better governance. Annan was instrumental in combating rampant HIV epidemic in Africa. During his tenure, he laid the foundation of ‘United Nations Global Compact’. The primary goal of this institution is to stimulate global trade and to adopt ecologically feasible and socially responsible policies. Annan faced a lot of heat due to his controversial ‘Oil-for-Food Program’ and ‘Under-development of Security Council’. After his stint as UN Secretary General, Annan was elected as the UN–Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria. Here are some of the famous quotes from this global peace-keeper highlighting his thoughts and work on issues pertaining to harmony, equality, knowledge, globalization, religion, justice and freedom. 

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.

- Kofi Annan

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.

- Kofi Annan

It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.

- Kofi Annan

Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.

- Kofi Annan

More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that is why we have the United Nations.

- Kofi Annan

Unfortunately, very few governments think about youth unemployment when they are drawing up their national plans.

- Kofi Annan

We must ensure that the global market is embedded in broadly shared values and practices that reflect global social needs, and that all the world's people share the benefits of globalization.

- Kofi Annan

On climate change, we often don't fully appreciate that it is a problem. We think it is a problem waiting to happen.

- Kofi Annan

Above all else, we need a reaffirmation of political commitment at the highest levels to reducing the dangers that arise both from existing nuclear weapons and from further proliferation.

- Kofi Annan

In the 21st century, I believe the mission of the United Nations will be defined by a new, more profound awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life, regardless of race or religion.

- Kofi Annan

We have the means and the capacity to deal with our problems, if only we can find the political will.

- Kofi Annan

I have always believed that on important issues, the leaders must lead. Where the leaders fail to lead, and people are really concerned about it, the people will take the lead and make the leaders follow.

- Kofi Annan

I urge the Iraqi leadership for sake of its own people... to seize this opportunity and thereby begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people.

- Kofi Annan

The United Nations, whose membership comprises almost all the states in the world, is founded on the principle of the equal worth of every human being.

- Kofi Annan

I don't share the view that the ICC is anti-African. The ICC is not putting Africa on trial. The ICC is fighting impunity and individuals who are accused of crimes.

- Kofi Annan

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family

- Where On Earth Are We Going, Kofi Annan

When economic conditions are difficult, people tend to be less generous and protect themselves; the question of solidarity doesn't mean much to them at that time.

- Kofi Annan

The problem is not with the faith, but with the faithful

- Kofi Annan

National markets are held together by shared values and confidence in certain minimum standards. But in the new global market, people do not yet have that confidence.

- Kofi Annan

There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole - women and men alike - than the one which involves women as central players.

- Kofi Annan

What governments and people don't realise is that sometimes the collective interest - the international interest - is also the national interest.

- Kofi Annan

More countries have understood that women's equality is a prerequisite for development.

- Kofi Annan

We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.

- Kofi Annan

Tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where peoples are becoming more and more closely interconnected.

- Kofi Annan

Education is, quite simply, peace-building by another name. It is the most effective form of defense spending there is.

- Kofi Annan

Time and again, when member states and the governments are faced with an insoluble problem, and they're under pressure to do something, that something usually ends up being referred to the U.N.

- Kofi Annan

Business, labor and civil society organizations have skills and resources that are vital in helping to build a more robust global community.

- Kofi Annan

Open markets offer the only realistic hope of pulling billions of people in developing countries out of abject poverty, while sustaining prosperity in the industrialized world.

- Kofi Annan

The question is the morning after. What sort of Iraq do we wake up to after the bombing? What happens in the region? What impact could it have? These are questions leaders I have spoken to have posed.

- Kofi Annan

Iraq has a new opportunity to comply with all these relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

- Kofi Annan

In the rush for justice it is important not to lose sight of principles the country holds dear.

- Kofi Annan

Many African leaders refuse to send their troops on peace keeping missions abroad because they probably need their armies to intimidate their own populations.

- Kofi Annan

If we can come up with innovations and train young people to take on new jobs, and if we can switch to clean energy, I think we have the capacity to build this world not dependent on fossil-fuel. I think it will happen, and it won't destroy economy.

- Kofi Annan

In their greatest hour of need, the world failed the people of Rwanda.

- Kofi Annan

The Lord had the wonderful advantage of being able to work alone.

- Kofi Annan

If the United Nations does not attempt to chart a course for the world's people in the first decades of the new millennium, who will?

- Kofi Annan

We need to keep hope alive and strive to do better.

- Kofi Annan

You can do a lot with diplomacy, but with diplomacy backed up by force you can get a lot more done.

- Kofi Annan

If one is going to err, one should err on the side of liberty and freedom.

- Kofi Annan

We have to choose between a global market driven only by calculations of short-term profit, and one which has a human face.

- Kofi Annan

We cannot wait for governments to do it all. Globalization operates on Internet time. Governments tend to be slow moving by nature, because they have to build political support for every step.

- Kofi Annan

We need to think of the future and the planet we are going to leave to our children and their children.

- Kofi Annan

If information and knowledge are central to democracy, they are conditions for development.

- Kofi Annan

Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.

- Kofi Annan