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South Africa High Commission Celebrates 100 Years of Nelson Mandela with Global Affairs Canada and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney

November 19, 2018

To honour the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, the South Africa High Commission in Canada held a special event at Global Affairs Canada featuring the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney. Other honoured guests included Ian Shugart, deputy minister of Global Affairs Canada, and Professor Pius Adesanmi, Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University. Her Excellency Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo, the South African High Commissioner to Canada, led the proceedings.

When Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister, he proactively campaigned for the end of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela. He gave a historic speech at the 1988 UN General Assembly, urging other countries to also demand Mandela’s freedom. His campaign faced stiff resistance from many of Canada’s traditional allies, including the U.K. and the U.S. But Mr. Mulroney eventually prevailed, showing tremendous moral leadership.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela and Mila and Brian Mulroney, pictured June 18, 1990, on Parliament Hill. Photograph by Jim Creskey, The Hill Times

Nelson and Winnie Mandela and Mila and Brian Mulroney, pictured June 18, 1990, on Parliament Hill. Photograph by Jim Creskey, The Hill Times

At the event, Carleton University professor Fen Hampson interviewed Mr. Mulroney, asking Mulroney why he and his government decided to prioritize South Africa and the campaign to end apartheid. Mr. Mulroney gave important insight into his thinking. He reminded the audience that tough decisions require resolve and leadership.

After Mulroney’s interview, a panel of experts provided further commentary on the legacy of Nelson Mandela. The panellists were the former Canadian Senator the Honourable Anne Cools, Professor Linda Freeman, Professor Dolana Mogadime and Dr. John Young, the president of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Prospectus Associates principal William Pristanski and public affairs manager Robert Near helped plan the event.

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