Annan said at a news conference, ”It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s a great recognition for the staff.”
He continued, “All of us who work for the U.N. should be proud today, but also be humble, because even more will be expected of us in the future.”
In Norway, the Nobel Committee praised the United Nations and Annan for promoting worldwide peace.
World leaders offered their congratulations, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, “We’re delighted to see that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the United Nations have been selected. We think the Nobel committee could not have made a better choice.”
The 67-year-old Annan, a Ghanaian, has worked for the world body for three decades. He headed peacekeeping operations before becoming secretary-general in 1997.
The United Nations has six regional branches and dozens of field offices around the world. Roughly 5,000 employees work in the New York headquarters, while some 52,000 others are stationed around the globe.
In addition to the U.N.’s well-known peacekeeping role, the United Nations has more than 30 affiliated groups that fight disease, forge development and reduce poverty, promote respect for human rights, and protect the environment.
The agencies also work to improve telecommunications, define the standards for air and sea transport, ensure intellectual property rights, and make loans to developing countries.
This is the first Nobel Peace Prize for the United Nations as a whole. The U.N. Children’s Fund won in 1965, the International Labor Organization in 1969, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in 1954 and 1981, and U.N. peacekeepers in 1988.