First Columbia Global Fellows to Include Kofi Annan, Former U.N. Secretary-General and Nobel Laureate

May 14, 2009Bookmark and Share

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger has named Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, as a Columbia Global Fellow, part of a new initiative to bring distinguished leaders to campus to play significant roles in designing, shaping and implementing solutions to critical international problems.

John Coatsworth, dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), has named two additional Columbia Global Fellows to join Annan in Morningside Heights next year. They are Alfred Gusenbauer, former chancellor of Austria, and Tung Chee Hwa, former chief executive of Hong Kong.
Kofi Annan talks about his continuing relationship with Columbia University. (4:35)
The Columbia Global Fellows program will bring students together with global practitioners to provide firsthand knowledge of experiences in the life of an international or public figure. Fellows will serve as important resources for academic and professional programs across the university through public lectures, seminar meetings with faculty and students, mentoring Columbia SIPA students, and providing advice on research and teaching in their areas of knowledge and experience.
“Understanding the issues arising out of the forces of globalization is a key part of Columbia’s intellectual agenda,” said Bollinger. “No one can help more in that quest than the former secretary general of the U.N. and international statesman, Kofi Annan.”
Annan and the U.N. itself shared the Nobel Peace Prize for 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.” He currently leads the Kofi Annan Foundation and is an active chairman of the board for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, among many other activities.
In addition to his Columbia SIPA affiliation, Annan will take on a broad, flexible role in other parts of University life. He will serve concurrently, for example, as a fellow on Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought, chaired by Nobel laureate and University Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz.
The University anticipates that Annan’s activities on campus will include giving lectures or smaller talks, hosting or participating in meetings and conferences, and moderating events with faculty or visiting speakers who participate in Columbia’s World Leaders Forum. He will also participate in the activities of Columbia’s Earth Institute along with its director Jeffrey D. Sachs, who served as a special adviser to Annan on the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals.
In light of the recent launch of Columbia Global Centers in Beijing and Amman, and with additional international centers anticipated in the future, the University looks forward to Annan’s participation in occasional events and programs abroad. 
“The Columbia Global Fellows program expands on a long tradition at the University, in particular at SIPA, of engaging world leaders in its research and educational mission,” said Coatsworth. “From Columbia’s World Leaders Forum to special lectures and ongoing collaborative research projects, policymakers from around the world serve as a bridge between faculty, students and a global community that faces tough policy issues on a daily basis.”