Kofi A. Annan of Ghana, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, is the first to be elected from the ranks of UN staff. His first five-year term began on 1 January 1997 and, following his subsequent re-appointment by the UN Member States, he will begin a second five-year term on 1 January 2002.
As Secretary-General, Mr. Annan has given priority to revitalizing the UN through a comprehensive programme of reform; strengthening the Organization’s traditional work in the areas of development and the maintenance of international peace and security; advocating human rights, the rule of law and the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity; restoring public confidence in the Organization by reaching out to new partners and, in his words, by “bringing the United Nations closer to the people”. The Secretary-General has also taken a leading role in mobilizing the international community in the battle against HIV/AIDS, and more recently against the global terrorist threat.
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