The seventh permanent Secretary-General of the UN was born in Britain’s Gold Coast colony in 1938. His grandfathers on both sides were tribal chiefs. Annan’s father was a successful Unilever executive, conservative and gradualist who was sceptical of the radical haste of Kwame Nkrumah in achieving Ghanaian independence.
After a Methodist education, Annan was identified by the Ford Foundation as a future leader and granted a scholarship to study in Minnesota. Rejecting a job offer from Unilever, Annan joined the World Health Organization in Geneva, and from 1965 worked for a UN agency called the Economic Commission for