Persons in News Current Affairs - 2019
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Former United Nations General Secretary and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan passed away in Bern, Switzerland. He was 80. He had served as seventh Secretary-General of UN for two terms reigning from 1997 till 2006. He was first black African to become Secretary-General of UN and also the first to be elected from UN staff itself.
About Kofi Annan
He was born on 8 April 1938 in Kumasi, Gold Coast (now Ghana). After completing his education, he had joined UN in 1962 as Budget officer for World Health Organization (WHO) in 1962. He went on to work in various capacities at UN, which included serving as Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping from 1992 to 96. Later he had served as UN Secretary-General for two terms reigning from 1997 till 2006 (He was succeeded by South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-moon in 2007).
As the Secretary-General, he had reformed the UN bureaucracy. He was passionate advocate of human rights and had played major role in the formation of two new intergovernmental bodies in 2005 within UN: Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council. He also had played pivotal role in creation of Global Fund to fight AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis during his term at UN.
In 1999, he had launched UN Global Compact initiative, which is now world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR). He was also founder and chairman of Kofi Annan Foundation and chairman of ‘The Elders’, an international organisation founded by Nelson Mandela. He was co-recipient of 2001 Nobel peace prize along with the United Nations. In September 2016, he was appointed to lead UN commission to investigate Rohingya crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine province.
Kofi Annan’s famous quotes
- “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress in every society, in every family.”
- “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 countries have understood that women’s equality is a prerequisite for development.”
Veteran political leader, prolific writer and former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away in New Delhi. He was 93. He was Prime Minister thrice in 1996 (13 days), 1998-1999 and 1999-2004 (making him first non-Congress leader to have completed full term as Prime Minister).
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
He was born on 25th December 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. He was amongst founder members of erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh (and was its president in 1968 upon death of Deendayal Upadhyaya) which later became known as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He parliamentarian for over 47 years elected to Lok Sabha for 10 times (elected for first time in 1957 from Balrampur constituency in Uttar Pradesh) and 2 times to Rajya Sabha. During first non-Congress Government of Prime Minister Morarji Desai in Centre he had served as Minister of External Affairs.
He served as PM of India between 1996 and 2004 in three non-consecutive terms viz. May 1996 (for 13 days), 1998–1999 (for 11 months) and 1999–2004. During his second term as PM, he had ordered thermonuclear tests in May 1998 which were seen as strategic masterstroke to blunt Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions.
Some of his pet projects launched during his tenure as PM were National Highway Development Project (Golden Quadrilateral) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. In 2009, he had retired from active politics due to health concerns.
He was awarded the India’s highest civilian honour ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 2015. His birthday is celebrated as Good Governance Day (GGD) by the Central Government since 2014 to foster awareness among the people of accountability in government. His poetry collection is released in his book Meri Ekyaavan Kavitayein (My 51 Poems).