Mr. Annan was a true statesman and spent much of his life working towards global peace and security through his service in the United Nations. His commitment to hard work, disciplined professional principles combined with an enviable and unquestioned performance orientation ensured his rise through the UN bureaucracy to assume the mantle of leadership of the world’s most powerful multilateral institution.
A son of Ghana, he remained deeply committed to uplifting his homeland and other countries in the African continent. Some initiatives included his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel, as well as through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 along with the United Nations, and was described by the Committee as Africa’s foremost diplomat.
He believed, as I do, in the power of education to lift people out of poverty. He is quoted as saying, “Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.”
The world has lost another great mind, but I have no doubt that Kofi Annan’s legacy of humanitarianism and service will live on.
Global iconic persons and recognized high achievers like Kofi Annan and our own Vidya Naipaul reinforce the view that notwithstanding the circumstances of our birth and the struggles we face in life, we can rise to the highest levels and make our individual contributions to the betterment of mankind.
Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago can examine Mr. Annan’s life and seek to emulate his compassion and empathy towards people in need.
Greg and I, and our extended UNC family, extend our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Kofi Annan, and we join in mourning the loss of this extraordinary man.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition