Out of the three Nobel Prize speeches, Kofi Annan’s struck me as the most powerful and the most important. He focused on what needs to happen in the future, and of changes that must be made in order to preserve humanity for the 21st century. I specifically liked his recognition of the importance of the individual. Kofi stated that we need to focus “on improving the conditions of the individual men and women who give the state or nation its richness and character,” because “genocide begins with the killing of one man…a campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ begins with one neighbor turning on another (Annan 626).” It all begins with the individuals that make up a state, not the state that makes up the individuals. That was a point that I had never fully taken into account. When you watch CNN or Fox news, they don’t broadcast stories of a single individual, they only report on whole nations and states. Kofi’s speech reminded me of the importance, and most importantly, the power, of each and every individual.
Kofi Annan retired from his position as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2006. His main focus, besides advocating human rights, has been the HIV/AIDs pandemic, along with preserving peace in Africa. Even though Kofi is no long the seventh Secretary-General of the UN, he still has played a key role in securing peace. In 2008/2009, Kofi helped to prevent more bloodshed in Africa after a bloody-election rocked Kenya. Kofi has also established the Kofi Annan Foundation, whose mission is to promote sustainable development, Peace, and Human Rights.
This is the link to Kofi’s foundation, and the overview of Kofi’s recent works in Kenya.