For Immediate Release
We join the world in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of the most exceptional and beloved leaders our global community has ever known. After enduring 27 years in prison, Mandela led his country on the path to democracy that offered a new future for all South Africans. He had the rare ability to bring unlikely partners together to solve the greatest challenges facing his nation, and USAID takes great pride in being a small part of this transformational legacy.
During the waning days of apartheid, our teams worked to establish relationships with suppressed anti-apartheid groups. Soon after the transition, Mandela signed the first-ever U.S.-South Africa grant agreement to support the administration of justice. With our help, South Africa rebuilt its justice and education systems from scratch after decades of sanctioned inequality and corruption. We helped establish the first independent prosecutors office, as well as the first gender unit to advocate on behalf of women. And we have been honored to work directly with Mandela to realize his commitment to give future generations of young South Africans the care and support they needed to thrive.
Above all, Mandela led by example. In 2007, he founded a group called The Elders to strengthen peace efforts and safeguard human rights, and his Children's Fund continues to support vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS. He helped create the GAVI Alliance--the groundbreaking global vaccine fund--to ensure that children everywhere got a healthy start in life. And countless scholarship programs have been endowed in his name as a testament to his belief in the power of education.
As Mandela takes his place in history, we grieve with the people of South Africa and draw strength from his memory. His compassion, determination, humility, and grace will always set him apart from all others in our hearts. We rededicate ourselves to carrying his legacy forward--not only through small acts of human kindness but global partnerships that change the face of poverty forever.
Last updated: March 19, 2014