Kofi Annan Award for Global Impact

“I hope you will go on to practice in the world what you have learnt within the walls of the United Nations International School — understanding, open-mindedness, community service, respect and communication across all cultures.”

Secretary-general kofi annan, graduation speech to unis graduates, 2006

To honor H. E. Kofi Annan’s legacy and the deep relationship he had with UNIS,  we conceived a UNIS alumni award. This distinction, named the UNIS Kofi Annan Award for Global Impact, will be given to a former UNIS student whose work exemplifies the dedication and spirit of the former Secretary-General who fostered peace, stability, and improved the welfare of the citizens of the world.

As Chair of UNIS’ Board of Trustees, and then again during his tenure as Secretary-General, H. E. Kofi Annan was deeply involved in the school’s mission and growth. He, along with his wife, Nane, visited the school many times to celebrate with our community, to host vital meetings at the school and the Secretariat, and to speak at student events, including our high school graduation ceremony in the UN General Assembly. By word and example, he represented the ideals that guide the instruction, the co-curricular initiatives, and the culture of UNIS as the school of the United Nations. 

He inspired our students to follow his example, to take to heart the important work he led, in his roles as Assistant Secretary-General, Under-Secretary-General, and as Secretary-General. During his tenure, extraordinary student-led events such as our UNIS Human Rights Conference and our UNIS-UN Conference, began and flourished respectively. 

Our award acknowledges the long and meaningful relationship that Secretary-General Annan has had with our school both as a Board Trustee and as Board Chair. It represents a wonderful opportunity to create a new institutional connection between alumni and the School that celebrates the enduring connection with the United Nations and its values, and in particular, Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Meet the Selection Committee

** The 2020 award has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. **

All nominees will be vetted by our esteemed Selection Committee, consisting of successful alumni and former faculty who are committed to the betterment of our world. The deadline for nominations from the UNIS alumni community will be mid January 2020, and the selection committee will meet two to three times — in person and video-conferenced in, with consideration of global time zones — for 1-2 hour meetings to discuss and select awardee(s). UNIS will provide a compiled shortlist nominees and their profiles. The awardee(s) will be announced in March, to allow for travel arrangements for awardee(s) and guests. The award will be presented prior to the All Alumni Reunion on June 6th, 2020. Those on the selection committee will serve two (2) years, and are eligible for the following year to be nominated for the Award.

Connection with Secretary-General Kofi Annan

H.E. Annan was Chair of the UNIS Board of Trustees eight years, 1988-1994. 

H.E. Annan was the keynote speaker at UNIS Graduation ceremonies in 1993, 1995, 1997, and 2006.  

Award Timeline

The 2020 award has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.