World leaders past and present, traditional rulers and global royalty on Thursday joined the family of Kofi Annan, as the former UN secretary general's state funeral took place in his native Ghana.
Ghanaians and other world leaders paid their final respects to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan who died on August 18 after a short illness. Annan's body arrived in Ghana where he was buried.
As the world leaders paid their last tributes to the late Ghanaian diplomat, they vowed to keep the legacy of a "stubborn optimist" alive in order to create a better and more peaceful world. Annan led the UN from 1997 to 2006. He died on August 18 aged 80 at his home in Switzerland after a short illness. Kofi Annan was the first African from Sub-Saharan Africa to lead the United Nations.
Hundreds of dignitaries attended the funeral at the Accra International Conference Centre, to mark the end of three days of national mourning for the respected diplomat. His body had arrived on Monday, in a solemn ceremony that marked the beginning of three days of national mourning.
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo, has praised Annan as "one of the most illustrious people of this generation." Annan's widow, Nane, gave a heartfelt eulogy of Kofi Annan at the funeral, describing him as "an extraordinary person" who had the "joy of life."
"My love, you are now back home where you started your long journey. But may your wisdom and compassion continue to guide us, wherever we are," she said at the state funeral in the capital, Accra.
The current UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, led mourners from the diplomatic corps, while there were representatives of the African Union, the West African bloc Ecowas, and presidents from across Africa and beyond.
Annan, who was originally from Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region in southern Ghana, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. At that time, the world was still afflicted by the terrors in New York, United States, commonly known as 9/11.
He was a respectable figure in diplomatic circles. He left his post as one of the most popular - and recognisable - UN leaders ever, and was considered a "diplomatic rock star" in international circles. He kept up his diplomatic work, taking mediation roles in Kenya and Syria, and more recently heading an advisory commission in Myanmar on the crisis in Rakhine state. He acted as a negotiator between the government and the opposition in Kenya after post-election violence at the end of 2007, leading to the formation of the Grand Coalition government.
The current UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, praised his close friend as an "exceptional global leader" who was dignified, courageous and a man of "integrity, dynamism and dedication".
Header Image Credit: Africa.com
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