Kofi Annan (80), a diplomat from Ghana, who rose to become the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations, passed away after a brief illness at a hospital in Switzerland today. Annan, who was the secretary general of the UN twice between 1997 and 2006, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

After his retirement, the former Ghanaian diplomat and secretary general settled down in a quiet Swiss village. He is survived by his wife Nane and three children.

Kofi Annan was deeply committed to the development of African nations and was involved in many projects, including the chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA), as stated by the Kofi Annan Foundation.

A profound thinker, described by his Foundation as a “global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist”, Annan will be remembered for his breadth of vision and his efforts to bring about peace in regions of the world.

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.”

“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”

“More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.”

“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.”

“In the 21st century, I believe the mission of the United Nations will be defined by a new, more profound awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life, regardless of race or religion.”

“We must ensure that the global market is embedded in broadly shared values and practices that reflect global social needs, and that all the world’s people share the benefits of globalization.”

“In their greatest hour of need, the world failed the people of Rwanda.”

“We need to keep hope alive and strive to do better.”

“If we can come up with innovations and train young people to take on new jobs, and if we can switch to clean energy, I think we have the capacity to build this world not dependent on fossil-fuel. I think it will happen, and it won’t destroy economy.”

“Business, labor and civil society organizations have skills and resources that are vital in helping to build a more robust global community.”

“What governments and people don’t realise is that sometimes the collective interest – the international interest – is also the national interest.”

“There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole – women and men alike – than the one which involves women as central players.”

“If information and knowledge are central to democracy, they are conditions for development.”

“We cannot wait for governments to do it all. Globalization operates on Internet time. Governments tend to be slow moving by nature, because they have to build political support for every step.”

“The United Nations, whose membership comprises almost all the states in the world, is founded on the principle of the equal worth of every human being.”