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In the News: Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, made the news in Scholastic News Edition 3, 5/6 and Junior Scholastic on October 10, 2005
By Alexandra Cale

Kofi Annan
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan speaks with journalists during a press conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Oct. 10, 2005. Annan on Monday promised Pakistan extensive support for the victims of the country's recent catastrophic earthquake.
(Photo: Sandro Campardo/Keystone/AP Wide World)
Kofi Annan has served in the United Nations as Secretary-General since 1997, but he has been working for the UN since 1962. He is the first UN staff member to be promoted to Secretary-General. He is also the first person from an African nation to hold this position.

Born in Ghana in 1938, Annan came from a family of leaders: Both of his grandfathers and his uncle were tribal chiefs. He began his studies in Ghana. A special grant allowed him to come to the U.S. and earn his bachelor's degree at Macalester College in Minnesota in 1961.

Annan went to graduate school in Geneva, Switzerland, and eventually earned a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. Annan is fluent in English, French, and several African languages.

Annan's work at the UN has ranged from budget and finance to peacekeeping to addressing the AIDS epidemic. In 2001, he and the UN received the Nobel Peace Prize together for their work toward making a more peaceful world. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Annan urged the U.S. not to proceed without UN support, but he was unsuccessful.

Earlier this year, Annan was involved in a scandal involving the UN's Oil for Food program in Iraq. An investigation found that some UN officials may have received improper payments from the program. Annan, however, was not found guilty.

The UN is dedicated to ending poverty, fighting terrorism, stopping the creation of nuclear weapons, and standing up for human rights. Annan's resolve to achieving those goals is clear.

"Never in the history of the United Nations have bold decisions been more necessary," he said. "And never have they been more possible."