Current Affairs Stalwarts of peace: Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Kofi Annan

Stalwarts of peace: Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Kofi Annan


Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Former Prime Minister of India

25 December 1924– 16 August 2018

Received Bharat Ratna in 2015

“If India is not secular, then India is not India at all,” Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Born in Gwalior, he did his schooling at the Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Gwalior. He attended Gwalior’s Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College) and graduated in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He completed his post-graduation in  M.A. in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur.

Vajpayee’s term as Prime Minister of India

  • Vajpayee was the Prime Minister for three terms – First term – May 1996, Second term- 1998-99, Third term – 1999-2004
  • In 1998 Nuclear test Pokaran was conducted after 24 years
  • While as a prime minister during 1998-99 Vajpayee initiated new peace process with Pakistan. He inaugurated the historic Delhi-Lahore bus service in Feb 1999. This resulted in Lahore declaration which eased the tension between both the nations
  • Kargil War 1999 – India successfully pushed back the Pakistan militants
  • Post Kargil war, in 2001 Vajpayee again initiated peace talks with Pakistan. However it did not succeed as Pakistan President Musharraf declined to set aside Kashmir issue
  • Again in 2003, he announced to improve the relation with Pakistan and his efforts were hailed by political leaders across the world
  • Vajpayee is known for his economic reforms  – liberalisation of Indian economy
  • His significant domestic projects include National Highway Development Project and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. He also launched Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Kofi Annan, Former secretary general of United Nations

8 April 1938 – 18 August 2018

Received Nobel Peace Prize 2001

 “In the 21st century, I believe the mission of the United Nations will be defined by a new, more profound awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life, regardless of race or religion,” Kofi Annan

Born in Kumasi, Annan did his schooling at elite Mfantsipim school, a Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast founded in the 1870s. He said that the school taught him “that suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere”. Annan pursued to study economics at Macalester College, International Relations from the Graduate Institute Geneva and Management at MIT.

Kofi Annan’s term as 7th Secretary General of the United Nations Jan 1997 to Dec 2006

  • In 1962, Kofi Annan started working as a budget officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations
  • He was appointed as the Secretary-General of The United Nations in 1997, making him the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself. He was re-elected for a second term in 2001.
  • As Secretary General, Annan’s first step was to reform UN 
  • Introduced millennium development goals – aiming to put “people at the centre of everything we do”
  • Established Global AIDS and Health fund
  • In 2001, Annan and UN received Nobel Peace Prize “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world.” He was recognised for revitalising the UN and for giving importance to human rights
  • The Nobel Committee hailed his commitment to the struggle to containing the spread of HIV in Africa and his declared opposition to international terrorism

The above mentioned are just few achievements of great personalities, who will be remembered for their efforts to instil peace in world.

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