Our Global Youth Ambassadors - a network of 900 advocates from over 80 countries - pay their personal tributes to the former UN Secretary-General, who died aged 80.
Julius Karl Dugboer Fieve (Ghana)
I was in faraway Mafi Akukokpo, a small village in the Mafi Zongo Electoral Area of the Central Tongu District of the Volta Region in Ghana when I heard of the sudden demise of a hero, mentor, role model and peace advocate, Kofi Annan.
I was incredibly saddened. I had always hoped to meet both Kofi Annan and Barack Obama. These two global leaders have long inspired me.
With the death of Kofi Annan the world has lost a fine man who carried Ghana and Africa to the United Nations. Antonio Guterres was right when he said “Kofi Annan was the UN”.
He demonstrated through his exploits with the UN that humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Kofi Annan was a generational thinker who ruthlessly believed in this current generation to make a better and progressive future for the next.
I believe that, as young leaders, the best tribute and remembrance of this legend is to continue shaping our local communities and ensure we collaboratively work to ensure we achieve the United Nations target of eradicating poverty and hunger.
We must disruptively and innovatively ensure governments and those in authorities at all levels create a just and empowered society.
This also means that we, the youth, must ensure our local communities participate in political processes and decision-making and that our voices are heard by those in authority - no matter the cost. It also calls for accountability and equity in service delivery.
Kofi Annan represented Africa on the global stage. In order for Africa to produce another Kofi Annan, we must take up leadership and governance roles in our local communities, volunteer to create difference in the lives of fellow Africans and work hard to have our presence felt at the global level.
African youth must be passionate and zealous about leadership, entrepreneurship and volunteerism, and build an impeccable career or professional future for themselves and society.
We must be socially responsible by getting connected with the problems of our communities as well as the solutions. I believe, we can and we will. “Yes we can”.
It is a sad moment for Africa and it is a sad moment for global peace and development. But I believe the legacy of Kofi Annan will live on. Hedenyuie (RIP) Kofi Annan.
Enock Nkulanga (Uganda)
I was privileged to have met Kofi Annan in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the convening of the Obama Foundation Leaders. He said to all of us who were there: ''You're never too young to lead and you are never too old to learn''.
That was profound and hit home. I remember, when he came on stage, he first said that his voice wasn't well and so he would like to be excused in case he isn't clear enough.
He really looked weak to me then. I am deeply saddened about his passing, as we only saw him three weeks ago.
I grew up and joined school early but one of the people I used to hear often about was Kofi Annan. If I wasn't researching about Gandhi, Mandela, King or Mother Teresa, then the next person in line would always be Kofi Annan.
He inspired me so much at an early age to the extent that I wanted to be like him. Meeting him in person in Johannesburg with Barack Obama at the same time of year was a double blessing and I will forever be grateful.
I extend my sincerest condolences to Kofi Annan's family as they grieve the passing of a person who loved them, worked hard to inspire them and lifted the status of their family as well as blessed generations to come.
Olanrewaju Gideon Seun (Nigeria)
“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
As a young person who champions the undeniable rights of young people and children to quality education, I strongly resonate with this assertion.
I continually see and witness how education represents a transformative tool for people, communities and nations.
Clearly, the foundations of the current global development agenda were well laid under the visionary leadership of the late UN Secretary-General.
Javnyuy Joybert (Cameroon)
"I am convinced more than ever that any society that does not succeed in tapping into the energy and creativity of its youth will be left behind." - Kofi Annan
This quote felt like it spoke directly to me when Kofi Annan said it a few years ago. He reassured me that, despite the fact young people are not being invested in and treated as the assets they should be across the African continent, we the young people should rise up and prove that our energy and creativity is what the continent needs to thrive.
Four years ago I founded the Center for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Business Management Development (CELBMD).
I founded it to create a unique institution that will tap and harness the energy and creativity of African youth to contribute to mother Africa. Kofi Annan, your legacy lives on.
Thank you for teaching us the values of integrity, service and commitment to humankind. Rest in peace.
Suprabhat Das (India)
Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations and was the founder and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation.
The foundation mobilised political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights. He believed that the expertise and evidence needed to solve pressing problems such as poverty in most cases already exists.
According to him, lack of leadership is the primary reason behind inequality. His life and works will be remembered.
Olowo Omotoke Titilope (Nigeria)
"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
This quote is the reason I choose to advocate for the right of people living with disabilities.
They choose to live and they deserve a life free from stigmatisation and marginalisation. We will get there through increasing inclusion.
Olawoore Victor Samuel (Nigeria)
Kofi Annan was a man of many accomplishments. He believed the world can be a better place for all if we actually go beyond talking to taking action.
Walking our talks, pushing forward our ideals, being truly selfless and committed to make a lasting change in the world. It isn't always easy - sometimes you have to make personal sacrifices, you may have to make tough decisions.
Kofi was hugely relevant and impactful on world affairs during his life. His legacy will continue because the world will not forget.
Nyugah Innocent Fomusoh (Cameroon)
"Children are our future and if we use them in battle, we are destroying the future. We must reclaim them, every one of them, one at a time." - Kofi Annan
Children in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon have for over two academic years now have been out of school with some of them joining pro-separatist fighters.
Through social media, I join my voice to the #NotoSchoolBoycott campaign that is calling on everyone to allow children to go back to school. Please join me too.
Kenneth Gyamerah (Ghana)
"Any society that does not succeed in tapping into the creativity and energy of the youth will be left behind." - Kofi Annan
As a youth leader, I completely agree with this statement. The world’s youth population is at an all-time high. At 1.8 billion people aged 15 to 29, young people have the potential to contribute to a happy, healthy and prosperous future for all.
But if we don't engage and empower youth now then the cycles of poverty, unemployment and lack of education will continue to grow.
Kofi Annan inspired this generation. He was a true statesman, an astute diplomat and a humanitarian. We have been blessed to have seen his contributions to making the world a better place for all.
Kofi Annan had his basic and high school education in Ghana. His legacy motivates me to do more for humanity.
Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu (Canada)
"We need to think of the future and the planet we are going to leave to our children and their children." - Kofi Annan
As a passionate advocate for global education, we must ensure that the future generation of tomorrow have an early start in life.
Their cognitive development, ability to play, learn, stay healthy and be safe must be sustained so that they can reach their full potential.
Our world has lost a giant, Africa has lost a son, I have lost a mentor. Go in peace. Be peaceful.