Kofi Annan served as secretary general of the United Nations from 1997-2006 and received a Nobel Peace Prize. He was elected in 1996 and felt that the UN should focus on eliminating poverty. In 2001, as he began his second term and won the Nobel, Annan was heralded as “Africa’s foremost diplomat.”
In the wake of his death on August 18, 2018, many people reflected on Annan’s outstanding character. One lighthearted story truly spoke to Annan’s good humor. After Annan’s departure from the UN in 2006, he and his wife decided to vacation in Italy and they made a point of going “off grid.” A few weeks into their quiet retreat, Annan and his wife ventured to town to buy a newspaper. Upon their arrival, a few men seemed to recognize Annan and greeted him.
Annan thought their cover was blown, but was surprised when they asked:
Morgan Freeman, may I have an autograph?
He graciously signed their paper, “Morgan Freeman.”