The United Nations ( U.N.), Kofi Annan
Nobel Peace Prize 2001
The United Nations (UN)
Support for organized cooperation between states and for the build-up of a global organization has been an important guideline for the Nobel Committee throughout its history. It therefore came as no surprise that the United Nations was favored on the occasion of the Peace Prize centenary in 2001, together with the organization's Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In previous years the Committee had agreed on a total of thirteen Laureates with connections with the United Nations.
The United Nations Organization was planned by the allies, with the United States in the lead, during World War II, and in 1945 it replaced the League of Nations as a forum for safeguarding world peace. Disagreements between the great powers made it impossible to establish a supranational armed force under UN auspices that could be put into action against violators of the peace. In its early years the organization's efforts were concentrated instead on overcoming poverty and the promotion of economic and social development. Since 1970 the advancement of human rights has been an increasingly important United Nations concern.
Africa's foremost diplomat
In 2001, its centennial year, the Nobel Committee decided that the Peace Prize was to be divided between the United Nations (UN) and the world organization's Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The choice showed the Committee's traditional support for organized cooperation between states.
Kofi Annan was born in Ghana in 1938. His father was a chief and governor of the Ashanti province. He attended a Methodist school and a technical college in his home country before continuing his academic studies in Switzerland and the United States.
Annan pursued a varied career in the UN system until 1993, when he was appointed Deputy Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations, a position he held until 1997, when he took over as the United Nations' seventh Secretary-General.
Kofi Annan was awarded the Peace Prize for having revitalized the UN and for having given priority to human rights. The Nobel Committee also recognized his commitment to the struggle to contain the spreading of the HIV virus in Africa and his declared opposition to international terrorism.