"I want an understanding that will help my mission and make it successful"
United Nations Secretary General
Kofi Atta Annan, current Secretary General of the United Nations, is a native of Ghana -- at the time of his birth, still a British colony called the Gold Coast. He was born April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, the descendant of a prominent family of paramount chieftains of the Fante people.. Annan began his education at a Ghanaian university, then completed a degree in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. He pursued graduate studies in Geneva at the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales. Again in the United States, Annan earned an M.S. in management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
By 1971, Annan had joined the United Nations.
His experience includes positions as Assistant Secretary General for Program Planning, Budget and Finance, head of human resources and security coordinator, director of the budget, chief of personnel for the High Commission for Refugees and administrative officer for the Economic Commission for Africa.
He was named Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations on March 1, 1993. In the peacekeeping post he did, however, take on a number of delicate and complex jobs. He was sent to Iraq to negotiate the release of hostages and the safe transport of a half-million Asian workers who had become stranded in that area. As representative of the UN Secretary General in Bosnia., he negotiated his way among the four powers who had intervened in Bosnia -- the United States, Britain, France and Russia.
On the evening of December 13, 1996, Annan was named Secretary General of the United Nations -- the first black African to hold the job.
In the future, Annan will grapple with the problem of gaining support for the United Nations from the organisation's sceptics, especially the U.S. Congress.
Membership and Presidency of the Security Council in 1998MonthPresidencyMembership Term EndsJanuaryFrancePermanent MemberFebruaryGabon31 December 1999MarchGambia31 December 1999AprilJapan31 December 1998MayKenya31 December 1998JunePortugal31 December 1998JulyRussian FederationPermanent MemberAugustSlovenia31 December 1999SeptemberSweden31 December 1998OctoberUnited KingdomPermanent MemberNovemberUnited StatesPermanent MemberDecemberBahrain31 December 1999Brazil31 December 1999ChinaPermanent MemberCosta Rica31 December 1998
The United Nations was established in the aftermath of a devastating war to help stabilize international relations and give peace a more secure foundation.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded five times to the United Nations and its organizations.
GeneralSize:437,072 sq. kmLocation:Middle EastPopulation:21.4 millionGovernment:RepublicLeader:President Saddam Hussein
PeopleLanguagesArabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, ArmenianMajor Religions Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%Ethnic groupsArab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%Growth rate 3.69%Birth rate43.07 births/1,000Death rate 6.57 deaths/1,000Fertility rate6.41 children/womanMale life expectancy65Female life expectancy68Infant mortality rate60 deaths/1,000 live birthsEconomyLabor force4.4 millionUnemployment rate N/AInflation Rate N/AGross domestic product (total value of goods and services produced annually)$41.1 billion (1995 est.)BudgetN/ADebt$50.0 billion (1989)Exports N/AImportsN/ADefense spending N/AHighways45,554 km (1989)
President of Iraq