Remarks by Mr. Alan Doss, President, Kofi Annan Foundation, on the occasion of the African Women’s Forum

October 26, 2018

I am honoured to be with you today for this tribute to Kofi Annan. On behalf of his wife, Nane, and the Kofi Annan Foundation, I would like to thank the Crans Montana Forum for awarding the prestigious Prix de la Fondation posthumously to Kofi Annan. Mrs. Annan, who cannot be with us today, has asked me to express her deep gratitude for this gracious act honouring the legacy of her late husband.

In the course of his remarkable life and career, Kofi Annan, as Secretary General of the United Nations, Nobel peace laureate and later as Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation energetically pursued his vision for a fairer, more peaceful world. “Healthy societies”, he would say, “are built on peace, inclusive development, and human rights.” But he recognised that women must play a central and critical role in building healthy societies. Allow me to quote him again: “When women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life”.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality is thus not only deeply valuable in its own right but one of the best means of securing progress on all the other SDGs. That is why the Women’s Forum provides such an apt venue to honour Kofi Annan. He recognised clearly the link between gender equality and peace and sustainable development, particularly for Africa, for which he naturally felt a personal responsibility. He would be especially pleased that the theme of the Forum is the role of women in agriculture.

Kofi Annan was convinced that the development of African agriculture, and securing food security, was the best way to address poverty and spur growth in Africa. Here too he argued that empowering and aiding women farmers is one of the best ways to end poverty on the continent. For Kofi Annan, the struggle for gender equality and the eradication of hunger were vital complementary steps on the road to creating a better world.

Now that he is no longer among us, it is up to all of us to ensure that Kofi Annan’s ideals live on. Such was his wish and such is our mission at the Kofi Annan Foundation. This award will serve as a powerful reminder of Kofi Annan’s quiet wisdom, the depth of his compassion, and the clarity of his vision. As we look to the future, we should draw inspiration from his life and continue his tireless quest for a fairer, more peaceful world.

Thank you.

Alan Doss
President, Kofi Annan Foundation