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15th February 2011

Former UN Secretary-General visits Exeter

The College was delighted to host Mr Kofi Annan, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, on Sunday 13 February, when he delivered a lecture as part of the lead-up to the College’s 700th Anniversary in 2014. The lecture also coincided with the launch of the publicationĀ Pilgrims of the Night, edited by Ivor Agyeman-Duah with contributions by the Rector and former Ghanaian President, John Kufuor (1961, PPE). (For more information aboutĀ Pilgrims of the Night, please visitĀ the publisher’s website)

Mr Annan was guided around the Ghost Forest exhibition by its creator Angela Palmer (2002, Fine Art) before giving the lecture in the Sheldonian Theatre. Over 700 people crowded into the theatre to hear the lecture, entitled “The Future of Africa”, including the Vice-Chancellor, His Excellency John Kufuor (1961, PPE), former President of Ghana, the Rector, and students, staff and Fellows from across the University. Mr Annan argued that the quality of the continent’s governance and leadership is the one area that will, above all else, determine Africa’s future.

The lecture was followed by a tea party for 90 Exeter alumni and other invited guests in the Divinity Schools, before Mr Annan returned to Exeter for a black-tie dinner in Hall with the Rector and prestigious guests including former President Kufuor and the Director of the African Studies Centre. Following the meal, he answered questions from the crowds of Exeter students who had packed the Hall to capacity.

During his visit he also formally opened Oxford’s African Studies Centre in refurbished offices.

Mr Annan rose through the ranks of the United Nations to become its seventh Secretary-General, serving two terms 1997 to 2006. In 2001 he and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with the citation praising his leadership for bringing new life to the organisation. He is currently the Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, which aims to promote better global governance and a fairer, more secure world.

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