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John Kufuor, statesman, Global Ambassador Against Hunger

Former Ghanaian president John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor has earned the nickname “gentle giant” for his formidable height (six foot, three inches) and calm demeanour. He won accolades for helping cement democracy in Ghana during his two terms in office.

Kufuor has also championed efforts to end hunger, becoming a partner in 2008 in the World Food Programme’s “Fill the Cup” drive to provide nutritious school meals to millions of hungry children . “Every nation’s future rests on nutritious food and education for its children,” Kufuor said.

Born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1938, Kufuor earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Oxford University in the United Kingdom before becoming a lawyer. But he soon turned to politics, serving as member of parliament, deputy foreign minister and secretary for local government before becoming Ghana’s president in 2000. He won a second term in 2004.

In 2007, Kufuor was elected chairman of the African Union (AU), serving until 2008. He stood down as Ghana’s president in January, following the election victory of former opposition leader John Atta Mills.

Profession: statesman, former president of Ghana, former chairman of African Union -- among other highlights of a career in public service that spans more than three decades.