Greetings from South Africa. This week, I had the privilege of meeting the most celebrated person in the world today, one who showed us all that when people work together, they can overcome even the greatest of struggles and change society forever.
On June 17, 2009, I met personally with Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa.
My mother was there with me and was pretty nervous, which is understandable. I think I was more excited than anything else!
What an honour it was. I had the opportunity to discuss some of my initiatives I will be starting over the next year, and I had the chance to ask him some very important questions on how we can better enable and prepare young people to get more involved in creating a more peaceful and harmonious world.
Mr. Mandela is the world’s most influential advocates for peace, social justice and freedom. Born in 1918, he became active in politics at a young age and joined the African National Congress (ANC). Because of his struggle for democracy in South Africa, he was arrested by the government and sent to prison in 1962.
After years of economic sanctions against the country and protest by human rights organizations, Mandela was finally released in 1990 and ran in South African’s first free and democratic elections in 1994, which he and the ANC won in a landslide. Mandela was President until 1999, and supported a program of reconciliation which helped South Africa become the multi-racial society it is today.
Mr. Mandela has received over 100 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and continues to be considered the world’s leading statesman on the issues of peace and human rights.
Meeting Nelson Mandela was an experience I will never forget, one that I will take with me and talk about with my children and grandchildren one day, far into the future.
“Together We Can Make A Difference”