Barack Obama to deliver 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa

Former United States president Barack Obama Foundation and Nelson Mandela Foundation have announced that Obama will deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the Ellis Park Arena Johannesburg in July a day before Nelson Mandela International Day.

The announcement was made at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, a former jail where anti-apartheid activists such as Mandela’s late former wife Winnie, were incarcerated.

The lecture’s theme will be “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World”.

The Lecture will focus on creating conditions for bridging divides, working across ideological lines, and resisting oppression and inequality.

One lesson expected from the lecture is “that all of us carry a responsibility to deal with anti-black racism”.

Former speakers include global thought leaders and change makers, including: Presidents Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mary Robinson and Michelle Bachelet; UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed; Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan, Wangari Maathai, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Yunus; Professors Ariel Dorfman, Thomas Piketty and Ismail Serageldin; and philanthropists Bill Gates and Mo Ibrahim.

“For most of his life, Nelson Mandela fought for democracy and equality. His presidency was defined by his efforts to solidify the fragile democracy of South Africa, and by his lessons on the politics of ‘bridge-building’ over the politics of division,” the two foundations said in a joint statement.

About 4 000 people were expected to attend.

Obama would spend five days in Johannesburg holding meetings, workshops and training for 200 young people in his most significant international project as an ex-president.

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