Today, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, would have been 82 years old. On this occasion, Geneva Airport announces that its protocol lounge will be renamed « Espace Kofi Annan ». This gesture honours a man who unceasingly fought for international cooperation to tackle global challenges, something which has never been more relevant than today, given the global crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time when the world is facing unprecedented threats and disruptions due to COVID-19, we recall Kofi Annan’s ever-important words; « It makes sense that we all come together to seek solutions that no one country, no matter how powerful, can hope to achieve alone. Global solidarity is both necessary and achievable. »
The Kofi Annan Foundation and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, through its mission to international organisations, have partnered with Geneva Airport to pay tribute to Kofi Annan, a man who worked to make the multilateral system stronger, more effective and open to collaboration with the various sectors of society.
Indeed, it is in working side by side with governments, the academic and research worlds, the private sector and civil society that the world will discover ways out of crises and develop solutions that can avert further ones. « This working together, for the good of all, corresponds with the vision that Mr Annan was able to infuse into multilateral action » emphasised Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, Head of the Swiss Mission to the United Nations and other international organisations.
« Each nation shares responsibility for the security of the other, » said the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Selected phrases from Kofi Annan’s speeches as well as images highlighting his work will make up the new decor of the protocol lounge, serving as a source of inspiration for world leaders who come to Geneva to negotiate at the United Nations and other international organisations.
« The airport is the gateway to International Geneva and an important asset for the centre of global governance, which needs air links to the whole world. It is no coincidence that the airport’s 100th anniversary coincides with the 100th anniversary of multilateralism in Geneva, » says Corine Moinat, Chair of the Board of Directors of Geneva Airport.
Kofi Annan chose Geneva as a place to live after he left the United Nations and as a place to set up his Foundation in 2007. The Kofi Annan Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that works to promote better global governance and strengthen the capacities of people and countries to achieve a fairer, more peaceful world. Nane Annan, member of the Kofi Annan Foundation Board « I am deeply moved that my late husband, Kofi Annan, is honoured in this way. Kofi believed that with goodwill and working together, nations can solve seemingly insurmountable problems. »
Such cooperation is needed now more than ever. The inauguration of the Kofi Annan Space will take place as soon as measures to counter the pandemic allow.