You may not be familiar with Kofi Annan, but he was one of the most powerful men in the world for several years. Annan became the first Black African to earn the role of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. He served as Secretary-General from 1997-2006, overseeing the world throughout the modern day battle with terrorism and the expansion of western powers. In 2001, Annan won a Nobel Peace Prize for his fight against AIDS in Africa, his stance against global terrorism, and his prioritization of human rights. 

Annan passed away today (Aug. 18) in Bern, Switzerland at the age of 80. According to The New York Times, after Annan’s death, Bijan Farnoudi, a spokesman for the Kofi Annan Foundation, sent out an email. Farnoudi said that Annan had recently been “a little weakened, but all those working closely with him day in and day out did not see this coming."

"He worked until the very end, without giving himself a break,” Farnoudi continued. “And he looked strong and fit doing it.” Kofi Annan was born on April 8, 1938, in Gold Coast, which was still under British colonial control at the time. In 1957, Gold Coast became Ghana, the first African country to gain independence from Britain. He first began working in the United Nations in 1962, at the World Health Organization in Geneva.