In December 2001, Kofi A. Annan and the United Nations organization received the Nobel Peace Prize; Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations, was recognized for his work "for a better organized and more peaceful world." Kofi Annan focuses on this leader's efforts to strengthen and revitalize the United Nations and bring it into the 21st century. In bestowing the Prize, the Nobel Committee said Mr. Annan "had been pre-eminent in bringing new life to the organization." According to the UN, the secretary-general is "equal parts diplomat and advocate, civil servant and CEO...a symbol of United Nations ideals and a spokesman for the interests of the world's peoples, in particular the poor and vulnerable among them." Fifty-one countries founded the organization in 1945 to preserve world peace; today membership totals 191 nations. As the seventh secretary-general, Annan has worked to revitalize the organization through strengthening its traditional role in the areas of development and the maintenance of international peace and security.
Born in Kumasi, Ghana, in 1938, Annan joined the United Nations in 1962, and received many special assignments before his appointment to secretary-general in 1997. He is married to Nane Annan of Sweden, a lawyer and artist. They have three children.
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