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On this date in 2001, in Oslo, Norway, the United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Annan, of Kumasi, Ghana, is the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations. The first secretary-general to be elected from the ranks of United Nations staff, he began his term on January 1, 1997. He devoted almost his entire working life to the world body. He was lauded for “bringing new life to the organization” that has often taken great risks in the promotion of human rights and conflict resolution since the end of World War II.
Annan said he was humbled and challenged. “It honors the U.N. but also challenges us to do more and do better, not to rest on our laurels,” he said. The prizewinners were decided following the September 11 terror attacks on the United States. The citation noted that Annan “has risen to new challenges such as HIV/AIDS and international terrorism and brought about more efficient utilization of the U.N.'s modest resources.” The United Nations was cited for its work for a better-organized and more peaceful world.