UNESCO Director-General attends South African President Nelson Mandela's Memorial Service
On 10 December, Irina Bokova joined world leaders, international dignitaries and celebrities along with 95,000 ordinary South Africans at the memorial service, hosted by President Jacob Zuma at the stadium in Johannesburg, where Nelson Mandela made his final major public appearance during the 2010 football World Cup.
Among those present were UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, French President Francois Hollande, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and India's Pranab Mukherjee. Three former US presidents, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, accompanied President Obama.
“Nelson Mandela was truly a giant among men,” Irina Bokova said. “He not only changed South Africa’s history, he changed the world and made it a better place. He taught us all a lesson on the power of peace and reconciliation; the importance of forgiveness and respect for the dignity of each and every human being.
“UNESCO is proud and honoured to have counted Nelson Mandela as a member of its family,” the Director-General said. “The greatest tribute we can pay him, is to carry on his message of hope and to continue his fierce defense of the values he stood for.”
In 1991, Nelson Mandela was awarded the UNESCO-Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize. In later years, he served the Organization as a Goodwill Ambassador.
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