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Northwestern Reacts to Mandela's Passing

Statements by President Morton Schapiro and the Program of African Studies

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December 6, 2013

Statement from President Morton Schapiro

The Northwestern University community today joins millions around the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela, who was a truly inspirational leader. I know that some of our faculty scholars were fortunate enough to know President Mandela and saw first-hand his impact on South Africa and the world.

But even those of us who did not know President Mandela personally could not help but be touched by his remarkable life and leadership. He overcame injustice, apartheid and prison, and he did so with a faith in the human spirit that continues to set an example for us all. His unwavering dedication to equality and freedom, his devotion to peace, and his constant dignity will inspire us even after his passing.

With finals approaching, I know this is a busy time on our campuses, but I hope you will find time to pause and reflect on the lessons that we have learned from President Mandela. We have witnessed a man who, as an eloquent advocate for justice and reconciliation, changed the world.

- Morton Schapiro, President and Professor


Statement from the Program of African Studies

On behalf of Northwestern University's Program of African Studies we mourn the passing of one of Africa's greatest liberation fighters in the struggle against colonialism, racism, and in South Africa, apartheid.  Unstoppable in his fight for freedom and equality, Nelson Mandela never forgot that people had more in common with one another than that which kept them apart and was able to move forward after independence by advocating against hate and vengeance.  The world is a better place for his strength and will for peace and reconciliation.  Those of us at Northwestern will celebrate Mandela's life of struggle along with our beloved graduate, Eduardo Mondlane who gave his life in the same struggle.