Nelson Mandela is UNESCO goodwill ambassador

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura on Tuesday designated Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa, as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador during a ceremony held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mandela was awarded the title "in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the fight against apartheid and racial discrimination in his country and worldwide," Matsuura said.
In addition, Mandela's "dedication to reconciliation between different communities, his unfailing commitment to democracy, equality and learning, his support for all the oppressed of the earth and his exemplary contribution to international peace and understanding" endeared the UN agency to honour him in this way, the UNESCO boss said.
Born on 18 July 1918 in Tembu, a small village in the Transkei of which his father was chief, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was the first member of his family to attend school.
His involvement in politics began in his student days at Fort Hare University, a predominantly black institution in apartheid South Africa.
Joining the African National Congress party in 1942, he became a notable opponent of the white minority government, which arrested and tried him for his anti-apartheid activism in 1962 and remained in prison until 1990.
He earned worldwide recognition as a freedom fighter and "Free Nelson Mandela" became the rallying cry for anti-apartheid campaigners.
In 1991 he and State President F.
de Klerk, who ordered his release from prison, were awarded UNESCO's Felix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize.
Two years later, the two men shared the Nobel Peace Prize, the most prestigious award in the world.
Mandela served as his country's first democratically- elected president from 1994 to 1999, overseeing South Africa's transition from minority rule and winning international respect for promoting reconciliation.
Since his retirement, he has been active on behalf of a number of social and human rights organisations.
As one of UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassadors, Mandela joins an outstanding group of celebrity advocates who have generously accepted to use their talent and status to promote UNESCO's work and ideals.

12 july 2005 11:25:00

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