Personal: Birth date: April 8, 1938
Birth place: Kumasi, Ghana
Birth name: Kofi Atta Annan
Father: Henry Reginald Annan, provincial governor in Ghana
Mother: Victoria Annan
Marriages: Nane (Lagergren) Annan (1984-present); Titi Alakija (1965-1983, divorced)
Children: with Nane Lagergren Annan: Nina (stepdaughter); with Titi Alakija: Kojo, July 25, 1973 (son); Ama, November 1969 (daughter)
Education: University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, B.A. in economics, 1961; Attended Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales, Geneva, Switzerland, 1961-1962; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan Fellow, M.S. in management, 1971-1972
Other Facts: Is descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his parents.
Had a twin sister, Efua Atta, who died in 1991. They shared the middle name Atta, which means twin in the Ghanaian language of Akan.
Is fluent in French, English and several African languages.
Studied at Macalester College on a Ford Foundation scholarship.
Spent almost his entire career working for the U.N.
Was the first secretary-general to be elected from the ranks of the United Nations staffers.
Timeline: 1962 - Joins the U.N. as a budget officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva.
1960s-1980s - Serves with various U.N. agencies, including the Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Emergency Force and the High Commissioner for Refugees.
1974-1976 - Leaves the U.N. briefly to serve as managing director of the Ghana Tourist Development Company.
1987-1990 - Serves as assistant secretary-general for Human Resources Management and security coordinator for the U.N.
1990-1992 - Serves as assistant secretary-general for Programme Planning, Budget and Finance, and controller.
March 1993-February 1994 - Serves as assistant secretary-general for Peacekeeping Operations.
1994-1995 and April 1996-December 1996 - Serves as under-secretary-general.
December 1996 - Is appointed to be the next secretary-general of the U.N.
January 1, 1997-December 31, 2006 - Serves as the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations.
June 29, 2001 - Is appointed to a second term as secretary-general, beginning January 1, 2002.
December 10, 2001 - Is awarded, along with the United Nations, the Nobel Peace Prize "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."
2007 - Founds the Kofi Annan Foundation, a non-profit promoting global sustainable development, peace and security.
October 17, 2007-March 2010 - Leader of the non-profit think-tank Global Humanitarian Forum, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The Forum ceases operations on March 31, 2010.
October 29, 2007 - Is appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation, an organization which looks for resolutions to global issues.
January 13, 2008 - Accepts invitation from Ghana's president, John Kufuor, to mediate an election dispute in Kenya.
March 1, 2008 - Is able to get Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to agree on a power-sharing government.
November 22, 2008 - Annan, along with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, attempt to visit Zimbabwe to gauge the humanitarian situation there. They are denied entry. The three are members of The Elders, a humanitarian group of a dozen leaders and activists of worldwide stature formed by Nelson Mandela to foster peace in world conflicts.
December 7, 2008 - Annan, Carter, and Machel release a report stating that Zimbabwe needs new leadership and call for more international aid for Zimbabwe's sick and hungry. Their report is based on interviews with politicians, aid workers, and others since they are not allowed in the country.
February 23, 2012 - The United Nations announces the appointment of Annan as joint special envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis.
March 11, 2012 - Annan leaves Syria after two days of talks with President Bashar al-Assad. Annan proposed a cease-fire, the release of detainees and allowing unfettered access to agencies such as the Red Cross to deliver much needed aid.
March 13, 2012 - In Turkey, Annan meets with government officials and Syrian opposition members including Burhan Ghalioun, chairman of the Syrian National Council.
March 16, 2012 - Annan briefs the U.N. Security Council on the situation in Syria and announces he is sending a mission to Damascus to discuss a plan for international monitors to end the daily violence engulfing the country.
March 24, 2012 - Annan arrives in Moscow in an effort to seek Russian help securing a cease-fire in Syria.
April 12, 2012 - Annan tells the U.N. that Syria has not fully complied with the terms of the cease-fire, which was worked out in the March peace plan and went into effect on April 10.
May 28, 2012 - Arrives in Damascus demanding accountability for the massacre at Houla and the implementation of the six-point peace plan worked out in March.
August 2, 2012 - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announces that Joint U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan will not renew his mandate when it expires at the end of August. Mr. Annan is effectively resigning the post.
September 4, 2012 - Releases a memoir called "Interventions: A Life in War and Peace". The book is written with Nader Mousavizadeh.