IOC pays tribute to "true friend" Kofi Annan

Olympic Flag in Lausanne to be flown at halfmast to mark passing of former UN Secretary General

IOC President Thomas Bach has paid tribute to the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

Annan, the first black head of the UN, died on Saturday aged 80 after a short illness.

In 2001, the Ghanaian and the UN were joint-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize noting his commitment to fighting HIV in Africa and international terrorism.

Annan was awarded the highest honour in the Olympic movement, the Olympic Award in Gold, in 2007.

Athens Torch Relay visits UN headquarters

Athens Torch Relay visits UN headquarters


Bach has asked that the Olympic Flag be flown at halfmast at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne to mark Annan's passing.

He said, "Kofi Annan always supported the IOC and its mission throughout his time in office as United Nations Secretary General, and until very recently.

"He played a very important role to help the IOC achieve Permanent Observer Status at the United Nations and was always ready to give very valuable advice.

"The IOC and the entire Olympic Movement will always honour him as a true friend and great promoter of the Olympic values." - IOC President Thomas Bach on Kofi Annan

Annan was the first UN Secretary General to be invited to the Opening Ceremony of a Games, and accepted the offer of Bach's predecessor Jacques Rogge to attend Salt Lake City in 2002.

Ahead of the Athens Games of 2004, the Olympic Torch visited UN headquarters in New York for the first time.

Annan spoke of the shared ideals of "tolerance and understanding, equality and peace, and - above all - justice".

He finally received his Olympic Award in Gold from Bach in Lausanne in a ceremony in 2015.

Thomas Bach presents Kofi Annan with the Olympic Order of Gold in October 2015
Thomas Bach presents Kofi Annan with the Olympic Order of Gold in October 2015Thomas Bach presents Kofi Annan with the Olympic Order of Gold in October 2015


After studying in the United States and Switzerland, Annan started work for the World Health Organisation in 1962 before undertaking various roles at the UN.

In 1993, he led the Department of Peacekeeping Operations established by then-Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Four years later, Annan succeeded Boutros-Ghali as Secretary General and served two full five-year terms before stepping down at the end of 2006.

He continued his efforts to achieve a more peaceful world through the creation of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

Annan also chaired The Elders, a group of peace activists and human rights advocates founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007.

He helped broker a successful reconciliation process following violence during the 2007 Kenyan presidential elections, but was unsuccessful in his efforts as UN-Arab League envoy to Syria to try to end the civil war in the nation.

Annan's special loyalty towards Africa saw him chair the Africa Progress Panel, and he also served as chancellor of the University of Ghana.

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