Kofi Annan, the founding chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former UN Secretary-General (1997-2006), paid a short visit to The Netherlands last week and also visited the Peace Palace. The Carnegie Foundation was honored to welcome him on 30 August. Mr. Erik de Baedts, the General- Director of the Carnegie Foundation, received Mr. Annan at the Peace Palace to talk about the work of the Foundations. Dutch television program 'EénVandaag' (OneToday) made use of the beautiful location to have an exclusive interview with Kofi Annan. Annan talked in the interview about the challenges of the refugee crisis in Europe and the United States Presidential Elections.
On the same day, Mr. Annan also had a meeting with Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders and trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen. Their talk focused on today’s international challenges, Dutch foreign policies and the work of the Kofi Annan Foundation. Mr Annan praised the Netherlands’ contribution to UN missions. Readiness in Western countries to take part in peace missions has declined significantly over the past 20 years – a regrettable trend, Mr Koenders remarked. ‘Standing on the sidelines and complaining is not an option,’ he said. ‘We’re all responsible for the success of UN missions.’ ‘The Netherlands’ importance in the international arena can scarcely be overestimated,’ added the former UN Secretary-General. ‘The Dutch are a key partner for my foundation in the fight against violent extremism, in supporting democracy and in working to eradicate hunger.’
Kofi Annan served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the United Nations were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize ‘for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world’. He is the founder and the Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as being the chairman of The Elders, a group founded by Nelson Mandela. Since last week, he chairs an advisory commission on Rakhine State. The overall objective of the Commission is to provide recommendations on the complex challenges facing Rakhine.
Text Ms. Sonja Huijgens, photograph N. van Tol