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Kofi Annan Quotes On Leadership, Education and Rights

Our latest collection of Kofi Annan quotes on Everyday Power.

Kofi Annan passed away in the early hours of Saturday, August 18, 2018, living behind a glittering humanitarian legacy. The former Secretary-General of the United Nations will be remembered as an advocate of the most vulnerable populations – one who helped improve millions of lives.

Born on 8 April 1938, in Kumasi, Ghana, Annan was appointed as the Secretary-General in December 1996, becoming the first U.N. Secretary-General from sub-Saharan Africa.

Under his leadership, the U.N. dealt with various issues, including political situations, labor, combating HIV, women empowerment and enhancing business relations.

In 2001, Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for “their work for a better organized and more peaceful world”.

In honor of one of Africa’s foremost sons, here are some beautiful Kofi Annan quotes that will inspire you to be a champion for peace and help improve the lives of others.

You might also like these world peace quotes that will give you hope for humanity.

Kofi Annan Quotes On Leadership, Education and Rights

1. We have the means and the capacity to deal with our problems, if only we can find the political will. – Kofi Annan

2. “Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” ― Kofi Annan

3. We can love what we are, without hating what, and who, we are not. – Kofi Annan

4. Literacy is at the heart of sustainable development – Kofi Annan

5. The future belongs to you, but it can only belong to you if you participate and take charge – Kofi Annan

6. We need to promote greater tolerance and understanding among the peoples of the world. Nothing can be more dangerous to our efforts to build peace and development than a world divided along religious, ethnic or cultural lines. In each nation, and among all nations, we must work to promote unity based on our shared humanity. – Kofi Annan

7. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right. – Kofi Annan

8. You are never too young to lead and you should never doubt your capacity to triumph where others have not. –
Kofi Annan

9. We need to create a world that is equitable, that is stable and a world where we bear in mind the needs of others, and not only what we need immediately. We are all in the same boat. – Kofi Annan

10. A developed country is one that allows all its citizens to enjoy a free and healthy life in a safe environment – Kofi Annan

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Kofi Annan quotes on life, education and knowledge

11. Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. – Kofi Annan

12. “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.” ― Kofi Annan

13. “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.” ― Kofi Annan

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

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

16. “The problem is not with the faith, but with the faithful” ― Kofi Annan

17. “Education is, quite simply, peace-building by another name. It is the most effective form of defense spending there is.” ― Kofi Annan

18. Literacy unlocks the door to learning throughout life, is essential to development and health, and opens the way for democratic participation and active citizenship. – Kofi Annan

19. We need to think of the future and the planet we are going to leave to our children and their children. – Kofi Annan

20. No one is born a good citizen or a good democrat or a good leader; it takes time and education. – Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan quotes on globalization and good governance

21. National markets are held together by shared values and confidence in certain minimum standards. But in the new global market, people do not yet have that confidence. – Kofi Annan

22. “You can do a lot with diplomacy, but with diplomacy backed up by force you can get a lot more done.” ― Kofi Annan

23. It has been said that arguing against globalisation is like arguing against the laws of gravity. ― Kofi Annan

24. 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. ― Kofi Annan

25. “I am often asked what can people do to become a good global citizen. I reply that it begins in your own community.” ― Kofi Annan

26. If globalization is to succeed, it must succeed for poor and rich alike. It must deliver rights no less than riches. It must provide social justice and equity no less than economic prosperity and enhanced communication. – Kofi Annan

27. Globalization is a fact of life. But I believe we have underestimated its fragility. – Kofi Annan

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28. “The world is not ours to keep. We hold it in trust for future generations.”  – Kofi Annan

29. In this new century, we must start from the understanding that peace belongs not only to states or peoples, but to each and every member of those communities. The sovereignty of States must no longer be used as a shield for gross violations of human rights.  – Kofi Annan

30. Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract – sustainable development – and turn it into a reality for all the world’s people – Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan quotes on equality, youths and women’s rights

31. More countries have understood that women’s equality is a prerequisite for development. – Kofi Annan

32. 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. – Kofi Annan

33. 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. – Kofi Annan

34. Unfortunately, very few governments think about youth unemployment when they are drawing up their national plans. – Kofi Annan

35. 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. – Kofi Annan

36. We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race. – Kofi Annan

37. Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies. – Kofi Annan

38. There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. – Kofi Annan
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of women empowerment quotes for strong feminists.

39. Gender equality is critical to the development and peace of every nation. – Kofi Annan

40. When women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life. – Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan quotes that will make you think

41. We need to keep hope alive and strive to do better. – – Kofi Annan

42. Without a dream you’ll not get anywhere. – Kofi Annan

43. Insecurity is love dressed in a child’s clothing. – Kofi Annan

44. The message should be clear, climate change must take its place along those threats like conflict, poverty. – Kofi Annan

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45. You have to wake up every day ready to start again. – Kofi Annan

46. Today’s real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another. – Kofi Annan

47. We are not only all responsible for each other’s security. We are also, in some measure, responsible for each other’s welfare. – Kofi Annan

48. If the United Nations is not as united as it should be, that is because it is a reflection of the world we live in. – Kofi Annan

49. “Invite politicians to dinner and let them tell the world how delicious it is. They will proudly go around and say, ‘I ate crickets, I ate locusts, and they were delicious.”  – Kofi Annan

50. The Lord had the wonderful advantage of being able to work alone. – Kofi Annan

Other insightful Kofi Annan quotes

51. “People of different religions and cultures live side by side in almost every part of the world, and most of us have overlapping identities which unite us with very different groups. We can love what we are, without hating what and who we are not. We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings.” ― Kofi Annan

52. “Tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where peoples are becoming more and more closely interconnected.” ― Kofi Annan

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

54. “You can no longer see or identify yourself solely as a member of a tribe, but as a citizen of a nation of one people working toward a common purpose.” ― Kofi Annan

Which of these Kofi Annan quotes was your favorite?

Kofi Annan will be remembered as a champion for peace who was committed to improving the lives of others. He has left behind a strong legacy as a great diplomat and humanitarian who was a conscience keeper of international peace and security.

Annan was committed to combating poverty, promoting equality and fighting for human rights. Hopefully, these quotes from the late former UN Sec-Gen have inspired you to make the world a better place.

Did you enjoy these Kofi Annan quotes? Which of the quotes was your favorite? Tell us in the comment section below. We would love to hear all about it.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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  1. Judith

    March 11, 2019 at 11:03 AM

    It seems to me that all Kofi Annan’s Quotes interlink: literacy+peace; the borders that divide us; our responsibilities one to another; our having a dream that we follow up and so on.
    Understanding how society is divided by those that have material advantages versus those who do not, factors that create the borders in our county

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