Born into a prominent family in Ghana, Kofi Annan was able to study in the United States at Macalester College in Minnesota, where he appeared in the yearbook in the early 1960's, above. In recalling his first year at the northern school, Annan remembers resisting the idea of earmuffs, "until one day," he says, "my ears nearly froze. So I went and bought the biggest pair I could find. But even in that I learned a very important lesson. You never walk into a situation and believe that you know better than the natives. You have to listen and look around. Otherwise you can make some very serious mistakes."