Honouring Kofi Annan: Tribute by the University of Ghana

Accra, Sept 12, GNA – “Now praise we great and
famous men,

                                    The fathers named in

                                   And praise the Lord
who now as then

                                    Reveals in man his

William George Tarrant (1853–1928) 

It is with a heavy heart that we pay tribute
to one of Ghana’s most illustrious sons and arguably one of the most decorated
men the world has ever produced.

The University received news of the passing of
our immediate past Chancellor, Mr. Kofi Annan, with great shock and disbelief.
This was because on August 1, 2018 we all eagerly looked forward to witnessing
his handing over to his successor, Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse at the Investiture
and Swearing-in ceremony, after successfully serving his 10-year tenure as
Chancellor of the University. Even though we were disappointed at his inability
to attend the investiture due to ill health, we never in our wildest
imagination envisaged news of his sudden demise.

Mr. Kofi Annan was appointed Chancellor of the
University of Ghana on 1 August, 2008. 
After successfully serving his first tenure which ended on July 31,
2013; he was reappointed for a further 5-year term which ended on July 31,
2018, thus leaving behind him a decade of selfless service to the University
and to his country of birth.

Indeed, we at the University of Ghana are very
proud of him.  Our pride is further
heightened that he accepted to be our Chancellor and gave us the wings to soar
among our peers, as an institution of higher learning.   It was therefore not surprising that at the
recent investiture ceremony of Mr. Annan’s successor, Nana Addo Dankwa
Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic, described Mr. Kofi Annan as “one of
Ghana’s most illustrious sons under whose stewardship the University attained
the rank as one of the best universities in Africa”.

Besides performing his official duties as
Chancellor, Mr. Annan made several contributions to the development of the
University. He was instrumental in attracting numerous funding sources to the
university especially in the areas of faculty research, agricultural research,
library resources, and ICT development. Notable among them were the UN-Carnegie
Next Generation of Academics in Africa project geared towards faculty
development and the enhancement of the University’s capacity in research and
post-graduate training; the Building Capacity to Meet the Climate Change
Challenge (B4C) Project, support from the Open Society Foundation, among many

Mr. Annan played a major advisory role where
he discussed the growth of the University with the other Principal
Officers.  He maximized every opportunity
to meet with the various Chairmen of Council and Vice-Chancellors, to the
extent possible, to give advice on the future direction of the University.  Indeed, the unparalleled personality of Mr.
Annan helped uplift the University of Ghana to worldwide recognition; granted
the University much credibility and greatly assisted the University to advance
its strategic agenda.

As Board Chair of the Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Mr. Annan, on learning about the PhD programme in
plant breeding at the West Africa Centre of Crop Improvement (WACCI), at the
University of Ghana, took keen interest in the programme and visited the Centre
on July 30, 2008 to have conversations on the African Green Revolution.  This was even before he assumed office as
Chancellor.   He spent some time to
inspect the fields, and discussed research on food and nutrition security with
the Directors and faculty at WACCI.  This
visit gave the much-needed visibility to WACCI.  

The University of Ghana is truly honoured to
be associated with this global icon, who served humanity as best as he
could.   Mr. Annan demonstrated true
servant and selfless leadership, always wishing the best for his nation and the
world. A true peace maker he was.  Mr.
Annan will be remembered as a man of principle and gentle disposition.  Indeed, the University of Ghana and the world
have lost a distinguished leader who was incomparable in all respects.

Mr. Kofi Annan was a strong tower and worthy
vessel from which the University drew a lot of wisdom and inspiration. He took
a strong interest in the University’s activities, and provided a strong
backbone during some of the turbulent times of the University. Mr. Annan called
frequently to check on the state of the University, and regularly assured us of
his unflinching support.

The University mourns with the wider family of
Mr. Annan, even as our hearts go out to his devoted wife, Nane, his children,
colleagues and friends.

We shall cling to the memory of his life, his
avowed passion for the University, and his legacy.  May the torch he lit continue to burn ever
more brightly as a memorial to his hard work and concern for humanity.

May the soul of Mr. Kofi Annan, our former
Chancellor, find eternal repose.

praise we great and famous men,

fathers named in story;

praise the Lord who now as then

in man his glory.”

William George Tarrant (1853–1928) 

Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor

On behalf of University of Ghana

Kofi Annan was the immediate past Chancellor
of the University of Ghana, having served for 10 years.


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