Kofi Annan Joins Board of Carnegie Corporation Of New York

Former Governor Thomas H. Kean, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Corporation of New York and Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation, today announced the appointment of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to its Board of Trustees.

“We are deeply honored to have Kofi Annan serve on our Board of Trustees,” said Vartan Gregorian. “He has dedicated his career to reducing conflict and promoting education as a catalyst for development—two issues to which the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie devoted the Corporation.”

“I’m delighted to join this group of extraordinary women and men who sit on the Carnegie Corporation Board under the competent and dynamic leadership of my good friend, Dr. Vartan Gregorian,” said Mr. Annan.

“Kofi Annan’s extraordinary accomplishments in international diplomacy and his passion for advancing mankind’s well-being will be tremendous assets to Carnegie Corporation as we continue to address some of this country’s—and the world’s—most complex challenges,” said Governor Kean.

Gregorian noted that, over the past decade, Kofi Annan’s determined diplomacy has greatly contributed to focusing the world’s attention on addressing threats to peace, and building its confidence in the possibility of finding common solutions. His insight, said Gregorian, will help to advance the Corporation’s mission.

Kofi Annan joins a Board of Trustees whose composition reflects the Corporation’s international perspective and its commitment to finding innovative responses to complex national and global challenges. Serving on the Board are prominent global leaders including Mexico’s former Secretary of the Treasury, a former Foreign Minister of Spain, a former Vice-Chairman of the (U.S.) Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former U.S. Ambassador who has served in numerous international posts. The Board also includes three university presidents and three former U.S. governors, one of whom also served as U.S. Secretary of Education. The President and CEO of The New York Times and the former Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc. provide the Board with a deep understanding of current changes in communications and the news industry. Also serving on the board is a former mayor of a major U.S. city, a renowned academic, the CEO of a major investment firm and the former manager of a leading hedge fund.

Commenting on Mr. Annan’s appointment, Former Governor James Hunt, Chairman of the Nominating Committee of the Carnegie Corporation Board of Trustee said, “His vision and intellect have made Kofi Annan one of the most influential international voices of our time. Kofi Annan’s contributions to the Corporation will enrich our work, and increase our impact, immeasurably."

Kofi Annan served as United Nations Secretary-General from 1997-2006. During his tenure, he prioritized a program of comprehensive reform aimed at revitalizing the United Nations and making the organization more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the institution closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners. Mr. Annan is currently Chairman of the Board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

Since the UN’s creation more than 60 years ago, the Corporation has been actively involved with the international organization, supporting policy initiatives, reforms and funding various commissions and dissemination efforts intended to promote security and peace as well as human rights and justice. During their respective administrations, past Carnegie Corporation presidents David Hamburg, Alan Pifer, and John Gardner have each funded specific UN initiatives.

In 1999, for example, the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict helped to make the concept of preventing deadly conflict a priority concern for the United Nations. The Commission, led by David Hamburg and Cyrus R. Vance, former U.S. Secretary of State, produced academic and technical reports, which contributed to the adoption by the Secretary-General of the concept of a “culture of prevention” for the UN.

Carnegie Corporation supported the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. The Commission, chaired by Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, was created in response to a challenge by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to ensure that the indifference and inaction by the world community in the face of situations like Rwanda and Srebrenica would no longer be an option.

Carnegie Corporation funded the United Nations Intellectual History Project to underscore the economic and social aspects of the UN’s contribution to world peace and progress. The independent research effort produced a collection of oral histories and a series of scholarly books.

Kofi Annan has been an outspoken champion of an initiative established in 1999 by the Corporation and several foundation partners to support the improvement of higher education institutions in a number of sub-Saharan African countries. At the launch of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa he called higher education “central to development, human progress and freedom.”

Andrew Carnegie was one of the earliest and most ardent supporters of a League of Nations. To this day, Carnegie Corporation of New York continues its commitment to the primary concerns to which founder Andrew Carnegie devoted the foundation: international peace and advancing education and knowledge. Mr. Carnegie argued that war might be eliminated if a global organization were established with authority to settle international disputes through arbitration and the use of economic sanctions. The philanthropist founded the Corporation in 1911 to “promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding,” a mission that was, in Carnegie’s mind, the surest path to permanent peace. He said, “Who so wants to share the heroism of battle let him join the fight against ignorance…and the mad idea that war is necessary.” Carnegie believed that war is wasteful, that diplomacy can resolve disputes without bloodshed and that nations can and should act collectively to prosecute cases of injustice when necessary.

For more than 95 years the Corporation has carried out Andrew Carnegie's vision of philanthropy by building on his two major concerns: international peace and advancing education and knowledge. As a private grantmaking foundation, the Corporation will invest more than $100 million this year in nonprofits to fulfill Mr. Carnegie's mission, “to do real and permanent good in this world.” The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of approximately $3 billion on September 30, 2007.