Remembering Kofi Annan, The African Icon

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The late UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan

By Olubanke King Akerele

Today, 18 August makes it two years since the world learnt that it had lost one its ardent peace makers — The UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan. 18 August is also the date of signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Accra in 2003.

Since then, Liberia ignited the concept of the Kofi Annan Living Memorial (KALM) which was formally launched as part of the UN Day observation on 24 October 2018 at the UN House (Liberia) by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elias Shoniyin, in the name of, and on behalf of Liberia’s President George Manneh Weah who was himself present at the launch with the rest of the Diplomatic Corps and Government Officials. Liberia post-conflict country that benefitted from the largest UN Peace Keeping Force under the Secretary Generalship of the late Kofi Annan, is grateful for the critical role he played saving the nation from self-destruction and bringing it back into the Comity of nations. The KALM pilot was launched on 18 March 2019, at the UN House, Monrovia.

Details of the programme and the model on which it is based — The Dag Hammarskjold Living Memorial in Zambia are described in the flyer that summaries the two Living Memorials. (see attached flyer)

Today, at the University of Liberia auditorium, as part of the Kofi Annan Living Memorial, Young Diplomats for Conflict Prevention are being certificated. Two Cohorts f the Young Diplomats have completed the three months certificate training, comprising courses amongst which include; Conflict Prevention, the Sustainable Development Foals (SDGs), Leadership Development, Community Development and Patriotism. The training of the first Cohort of 30 Young Diplomats were certificated in 2019 and was financed by the UNHCR, while the second Cohort of 60 was financed by UNFPA regional programme in Senegal and are being certificated today.  The Kofi Annan Institute and the Angie Brooks International Centre, both the lead implementing partners of the initiative, are indebted to these institutions.

They will constitute the core of what is nothing short of Liberia’s reservoir of “Home-grown” conflict preventers and Peace makers. This is how Liberia is remembering our African Icon Kofi Annan—Taking his legacy into the future as we dedicate ourselves to Sustaining Liberia’s Peace, for which he strove and contributed to making possible through the UNMIL’s mission to bring “Mama Liberia back into the comity of nations.”

Endorsement of the Kofi Annan Living Memorial (KALM)

“I write on behalf of the President and People of the  republic of Ghana to express profound gratitude to you for your keen effort in the establishment of the Kofi Annan Living Memorial (KALM), as part of the United Nations Day Observation by the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation of the University of Liberia, the Angie Brooks International Centre for women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security (ABIC), in concert with the United Nation System in Liberia and the Government of Liberia.

This Initiative is indeed a befitting tribute to the late Mr. Kofi Annan who spent his entire life working to promote human dignity and international peace and security. We in Ghana are proud of this legacy and are pleased to be a part of any project to promote and sustain the memory of the African hero and global icon.

The Government and people of Ghana look forward to working with yo and your partners to further promote this worthy cause.”

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (MP)
Minister of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration
(20 July 2019)

Dag Hammarskjold/Kofi Annan
Living Memorials

Are established as a tribute to commemorate the life, work and ideals (Essentially the Legacy) of individuals in whose name the said Living Memorial has or is being established. Thus the Kofi Annan Living Memorial is being modeled after the already established Dag Hammarskjold Living Memorial — in Zambia — he was the second UNSG.

Two UNSGs Nobel Peace Prize Laureates 

Dag Hammarskjold (Sweden) 1953-1961 

UNSG Kofi Annan comments on Dag Hammarskjold Living Memorial-6 September 2001

  • “In Zambia too — which, as you know where he actually died — Hammarskjold’s death s commemorated annually. The Zambian Government, together with your own, and the United Nations System, has launched a ‘Living Memorial’, which includes a program to educate Young Africans as ‘Messengers of Peace’, as well as a Centre for Peace. Good Governance and Human Rights. There could be no better way to commemorate him then promoting these ideals, which he held so dearly”
  • Eighteen years later, we say “there can be no better way to commemorate the late UNSG, Kofi Annan, than promoting the ideals which he held so dear”, through the establishment of a similar memorial — namely the Kofi Annan Living Memorial (KALM) — Essentially “Taking” his Legacy into the future.
  • The said memorial is a programme of the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT) (Univ. of Liberia) established in 2006 and endorsed by the late UNSG during his farewell visit to Liberia in 2006 when he received Liberia’s highest honor. Its operationalization is underway in collaboration with the UN System in Liberia, the ABIC and Government of Liberia.

Kofi Annan (Ghana) 1996-2006

“Kofi Annan – The African Icon”

Mary Chinery-Hesse

Former UN Under Secretary-General

 

Components of the KALM Pilot in Liberia

  • KAICT’s Young Diplomats for Conflict Prevention and the Realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • SDG’s Clubs for Realization of the Goals at High Schools
  • Four weeks workshops promoting Values and Ideals of Kofi Annan for “out-of-school” youths
  • Development of Educational Board Game: Sustaining Liberia’s Peace

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