Books For Africa Remembers Kofi Annan

The Books For Africa family joins the world in mourning the unexpected and untimely passing of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on August 18th, 2018.

BFA has been fortunate to benefit from a long and supportive relationship with Kofi Annan. He first heard of our work almost 20 years ago. Kofi Annan, 2000For many years the homepage of our BFA website has featured this quote from Mr. Annan: “Books For Africa is a simple idea, but its impact is transformative. For us, literacy is quite simply the bridge from misery to hope.” This concept, captured so elegantly by Mr. Annan, has been a guiding force in BFA's work to end the African book famine.

During a visit to St. Paul in 2000 he took time to meet with BFA supporters, thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to do more. 

In 2002 the Secretary General’s wife, Nane Annan, met with BFA staff, board members and other volunteers, and toured our St. Paul warehouse. She also signed copies of the children’s book she had written, “The United Nations, come along with me”. Over a hundred copies of that book were added to BFA shipments to various African countries. 

In 2008 Books For Africa launched it’s Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative, a program in partnership with Thomson Reuters to send reference law libraries to African legal recipients. Law & Democracy Initiative Co-chairs Kofi Annan and Walter Mondale at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, May 2009It was named to honor Federal Magistrate Judge Jack Mason, a Macalester College friend of Kofi Annan’s. Mr. Annan immediately agreed to be co-chair of the Advisory Board of this program, along with former US Vice President Walter Mondale. 

Also in 2008, Mr. Annan sent video greetings to Books For Africa on the occasion of BFA's 20th anniversary, and in celebration of the launch of the Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative. 

In his position as co-chair of that law book program Mr. Annan joined with Mr. Mondale in 2011 to write a commentary piece on literacy and the rule of law which was featured in several newspapers. In that article they spoke of the two ingredients crucial to the development of a stable democracy: “A determination to educate a country's citizens and a commitment to the rule of law.”

Books For Africa is celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2018. We were honored that Mr. Annan joined key supporters at a reception in St. Paul on May 7, 2018, just 3 months before his death, to celebrate our accomplishments and propel us forward. In his speech he said: Over the past 30 years Books For Africa has made tremendous progress in helping to extend this right (literacy), and I urge you to redouble your efforts in the decades ahead." 

Kofi Annan Reception

Books For Africa is a stronger organization because of the continual support of Kofi Annan. We will indeed redouble our efforts to end the book famine in Africa as we remember his passion for our work, and his greater efforts worldwide on behalf of the rule of law.