Gordon Brown has paid tribute to Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary-General he brought to Kirkcaldy to deliver a lecture in 2008.
The Nobel laureate and Ghanaian diploat died aged 80 on August 18.
Mr Brown, former Prime Minister and Kirkcaldy MP, hailed him as “a leader of leaders, a wonderful humanitarian and the most compassionate and caring of individuals.”
he added: ““Personally modest and always soft spoken, he was a titan amongst world statesman who saw wrong and righted it and who witnessed evil and always fought it.
“Even in his later years he fought against poverty, injustice and war with all the vigour of youth and I had the privilege of working with him in recent times.
“He will be sorely missed by all who benefited from his generosity and commitment to the best of good causes.’’
Mr Annan was one of the most high profile guests to deliver the annual Adam Smith Lecture in 2009.
His appearance at St Bryce Kirk, Kirkcaldy, drew an audience of hundreds who packed the pews.
Mr Annan used his lecture ‘Africa and the Global Economic Crisis’ to call for the continent to be remembered as the world deals with the current financial meltdown.
He said the international community should look towards the universal values outlined by Kirkcaldy’s own Adam Smith, and respond with justice, generosity and public spiritedness. “Africans had no responsibility for the meltdown, not even as borrowers or consumers. “This crisis has ‘made in the North’ stamped all over it,” he said.
“But as the crisis has deepened, it has become increasingly clear that the least developed countries could be among the biggest casualties. “Africa must be included in a global economic stimulus plan. ‘’This crisis could be an opportunity to address some of the blockages that have been constraining growth, trade, food and nutrition security.”
Mr Annan also praised the Prime Minister’s efforts at the G20 summit earlier this month. He added:
“The momentum generated in London needs to be maintained. In a world beset with problems, we cannot afford to get this wrong. “And if we get it right, then 250 years after ‘Theory of Moral Sentiments’ was published we might finally have learned the lessons that Smith was trying to teach us.”
Mr Brown introduced Mr Annan as the world’s “first global citizen”, and said he deserved the title of peacemaker more than anyone for the work he had done at the UN.
He added: “It is a measure of the affection in which Kofi Annan is held that people from all walks of Scottish life are here today.”
Following the lecture, Mr Brown and Mr Annan took part in a question and answer session which included questions from children at Glenwood and Kirkcaldy High Schools.
Earlier ,pupils from secondary schools across Fife had met with Mr Annan before later viewing the lecture via a live link.