Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War Prime – Carcier.co

In this thoughtful, balanced biography, former Los Angeles Times foreign and diplomatic correspondent Stanley Meisler traces Kofi Annan s unconventional rise from optimistic student to striving personnel and budget specialist in the United Nations bureaucracy to full time manager of the world s crises The book presents a unique portrait of this widely admired leader, with Annan s own view of events tempered and augmented by those of his allies and opponents, defenders and detractors


10 thoughts on “Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War

  1. Miebara Jato Miebara Jato says:

    This biography of Koffi Annan was published in 2007 Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations, peacefully past on to eternal glory on 18 August 2018 He lived a successful life, rising from a schoolboy in Ghana to world statesman and Nobel prize winner He headed the UN at a tumultuous time, but rises to the occasion and triumphed Stanley Meisler, who also authored the United Nations The First Fifty Years has known Annan for many years as a journalist of the Los Angeles Times This biography of Koffi Annan was published in 2007 Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations, peacefully past on to eternal glory on 18 August 2018 He lived a successful life, rising from a schoolboy in Ghana to world statesman and Nobel prize winner He headed the UN at a tumultuous time, but rises to the occasion and triumphed Stanley Meisler, who also authored the United Nations The First Fifty Years has known Annan for many years as a journalist of the Los Angeles Times portrays the former Secretary General as someone who is not an ideologue, but as a pragmatic leader who adhered to some core values and unconditionally almost religiously promoted the letter and spirit of the charter of the UN during his terms as chief functionary of the world organisation from 1997 2008 The book follows a chronological order of Annan s life, starting from the special relationship that existed between the US and Ghana in 1950s 1960s, and his family root up to his final hours in the UN Koffi Annan as a child dreamed of following his father s footsteps in the private sector From an early age, he shows signs of leadership and organisational skills After finishing high school in his home country, Ghana, he went to study Economics in Macalester College, United States, sponsored by the Ford Foundation Foundation.He enrolled at the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, but couldn t finish, instead, went to work for the UN He eventually received an M.S in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT A number of interesting facts and issues about Annan are presented and highlighted in the book For instance, Annan, who joined the UN as an employee at a fairly young age, had his first substantive diplomatic assignment in 1991 at the age of fifty two when he was asked to persuade Iraq to let go nine hundred UN workers and dependents that were taken, hostage Before that he spent much of his time pushing folders around a desk or poring over budget figures as a personnel and budget specialist in the UN bureaucracy In 1993 he took over as UN head of peacekeeping under Boutros Boutros Ghali in order to strengthen Africa s presence in the higher echelons of the UN It had taken himthan thirty years to climb from the lowest rank in the UN to the rank of Undersecretary Secretary Annan worked in several capacities in the UN, and also had a short stint as managing director of Ghana Tourism Agency in 1974 His election to the number one post in the UN reveals some fascinating behind the scenes politics There were significant differences between the Secretary General and the United States US towards the end of Boutros Ghali s first term Moreover, the conflict between Boutros Ghali and Madeleine Albright, former US Ambassador to the UN, was taken to personal levels The US, therefore, decided to block a second term for Boutros Ghali Apparently, many Africans felt cheated when the first African Secretary General turned out to be an Egyptian from North Africa and decided that if they were going to get another chance at the job, they would prefer a black African from south of the Sahara The US campaign favoured Annan and after several ballots in the Security Council which brought Annan to the fore as the primary and later sole candidate, the French Ambassador and his right to veto stood between Annan and the top UN position However, after some further diplomatic footwork, Annan was elected by the Security Council as the seventh Secretary General of the UN In this regard, Meisler presents some insightful information on the international political bickering that led to Annan supplanting Boutros Ghali The enormous political influence of the US as the world s only superpower is also evident from this part of the book.Meisler argues that despite the many challenges and crises that Annan had to face, his administration should actually be credited with an impressive handful of major achievements He established the principle of the right of the international community to intervene politically and militarily when a government abuses its own people Annan also revived a weakened peacekeeping department and increased the deployment of troops to near record levels He injected openness and transparency into the UN system The UN s role as the main coordinator of international relief was further solidified under Annan In the final instance, he presided over an organisation that could not be described as irrelevant The point is also made that the UN works best when the US and the Secretary General are in harmony a wedding of American power and political influence with a moral force reflecting the needs and desires of the rest of the world.Kofi s term in the UN had ups and downs Notably, his first marriage to Titilola Alakija, a Nigerian, crashed after 11 years His son, Kojo got mired in a scandal, taking a job in what looked like a tawdry scheme to cash in his father s station and influence The independent UN commission headed by Paul Volcker found no evidence that Annan used his influence to help Cotecna, his son s employer to win a contract in Iraq s Oil for Food Programme Annan s well known sad moments as Secretary General of the UN was his inability to prevent the US led invasion of Iraq And other conflicts and genocides during his term as UN undersecretary in charge of peacekeeping operations in Rwanda, Bosnia, etc that he couldn t avert This book is good reading material for scholars, students and all those interested in diplomacy, international affairs, international organisations, war and peace, or anyone interested in the affairs and functioning of the UN as the pre eminent organisation responsible for international peace and security I picked this book to read to study the life of Annan and to also mourn his death I m grateful I did because it s most stimulating, lucid and insightful I can t recommend it highly enough


  2. Judy Judy says:

    Meisler traces Annan s rise to power on the international stage and his impact on the image and influence of the United Nations Annan was the first Secretary General to rise up from within the ranks of the UN, and his experience gave him unique insights into how the UN functions Meisler does not make Annan a saint His weaknesses are discussed along with his strengths, but it is impossible not to be impressed by this gentle, honest man I was especially impressed by Annan s integrity, even whe Meisler traces Annan s rise to power on the international stage and his impact on the image and influence of the United Nations Annan was the first Secretary General to rise up from within the ranks of the UN, and his experience gave him unique insights into how the UN functions Meisler does not make Annan a saint His weaknesses are discussed along with his strengths, but it is impossible not to be impressed by this gentle, honest man I was especially impressed by Annan s integrity, even when making the right choice was unpopular and had a significant negative impact on how he was perceived in the international community For example, the G W Bush years of war in Iraq with which he strongly disagreed were very hard on his reputation He was disliked in the United States for his opposition to the war, and criticized by the international community for not being able to prevent the war.I learned a lot about the UN, both its history and its current position in the world, and I will be muchlikely to pay attention to its role in world affairs after having read this biography


  3. Bas Janssen Bas Janssen says:

    Solid book, not giving the expected insight into Kofi Annan butof a detailed description on the UNs challenges during the years of Annan as SG Which is however still Interesting.Could have been a bitbalanced in opinions Skewed towards positivism on KA and the UN.


  4. Annie Annie says:

    Loved this book It gives us Kofi Annan, warts and all.A great introduction to how the UN works and its role in the world How helpless UN is when it is not backed up by superpower US About the bullying tactics of US and its self interests Gave me a better perspective on the major wars fought in the last few decades And how ignorant I am of what is happening right now Need to find out where I can get an unbiased report on world events All the TV channels that I watch occasionally seems infl Loved this book It gives us Kofi Annan, warts and all.A great introduction to how the UN works and its role in the world How helpless UN is when it is not backed up by superpower US About the bullying tactics of US and its self interests Gave me a better perspective on the major wars fought in the last few decades And how ignorant I am of what is happening right now Need to find out where I can get an unbiased report on world events All the TV channels that I watch occasionally seems influenced by the western interests or just sensationalised news that really doesn t even deserve any screen time


  5. Alanagh Alanagh says:

    From conflict prevention to human rights, Kofi Annan has sought to place human beings at the centre of everything done at by United Nations He will indeed be remembered favourably for his work to secure lasting improvement for many people, even though it was overshadowed by the war in Iraq during his term.


  6. Susan Susan says:

    Some interesting insights and a handful of details into the life of a great humanitarian Meisler certainly has room for improvement with regards to sentence structures, repitition of ideas and creatingvivid images In contrast, Samantha Power s Chasing the Flame does farjustice to the work of UN leaders.


  7. Flowquietly Flowquietly says:

    This si the book that lept out at me, whilst perusing the library it lept to my attention as said read me like so many of my books do In response to a particular question I was asking myself about world peace Seek and ye shall find


  8. Gary Gary says:

    Still too early to give a full review, but I lent my copy to a friend before I got to it and she liked it, so there.


  9. Mohamed Mohamed says:

    amazing booki loved the details


  10. Michelle Millard Michelle Millard says:

    After reading this book, Kofi Annan became the person that I want to be He has become one of the most influential people in my life.