Ten Quotes from the 7th Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan

Politics and Society

10 quotes from Kofi Annan, the 7th UN Secretary-General

Kofi Annan left a rich and enduring legacy promoting peace and democracy. Here are 10 quotes from the 7th UN Secretary-General.



In 1996, the United Nations Security Council elected Ghanaian Kofi Annan as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations. Annan served until 2006.

He is one of the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize and the founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

He is also the chairperson of the elders, an international non-governmental organisation of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates converged by Nelson Mandela in 2007.  Here are some of his quotes:

1. Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.


2. To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.

Read: 10 Quotes from Nobel Laureate, Naguib Mahfouz

3. Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.

4. More countries have understood that women’s equality is a prerequisite for development.

5. Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.


Kofi Annan EPA-EFE: Fredrik Persson

6. Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.

Read: 10 Quotes by Wole Soyinka

7. Let us be good stewards of the Earth we inherited. All of us have to share the Earth’s fragile ecosystems and precious resources, and each of us has a role to play in preserving them. If we are to go on living together on this earth, we must all be responsible for it.

8. You are never too young to lead.

9. Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.

10. Children are our future and if we use them in battle, we are destroying the future. We must reclaim them, every one of them, one at a time.”


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