Africa's foremost diplomat
In 2001, its centennial year, the Nobel Committee decided that the Peace Prize was to be divided between the United Nations (UN) and the world organization's Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The choice showed the Committee's traditional support for organized cooperation between states.
Kofi Annan was born in Ghana in 1938. His father was a chief and governor of the Ashanti province. He attended a Methodist school and a technical college in his home country before continuing his academic studies in Switzerland and the United States.
Annan pursued a varied career in the UN system until 1993, when he was appointed Deputy Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations, a position he held until 1997, when he took over as the United Nations' seventh Secretary-General.
Kofi Annan was awarded the Peace Prize for having revitalized the UN and for having given priority to human rights. The Nobel Committee also recognized his commitment to the struggle to contain the spreading of the HIV virus in Africa and his declared opposition to international terrorism.