Sunday, July 24, 2011

Annual Nelson Mandela lecture 2011: To our Youth of today

On 23rd of July 20111, Professor Ismail Seragelding from Egypt delivered the 9th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture titled 'The Making of Social Justice: Pluralism, Cohesion and Social Participation'. It is worthwhile a read and I will not do justice if I try to repeat what he said so beautifully in his speech. Below the points points most resonated with me. It was encouraging to hear from such a well established scientist and globally acknowledged academic about the importance of creating social justice. Emphasising the enormous difficulties a highly unequal society might have to face along the way, he linked the necessity for social justice to the efforts of building social cohesion and the encouragement of citizen participation.

Him being from one of the countries where the Arabic spring took place, his message to support the youth of today was loud and clear. He converted the often negative perceptions of the 'Facebook generation of today' into powerful words of hope:
To our youth, and to all youth, from the Cape to Cairo and beyond, I say: You have been called the children of the internet, or the Facebook generation, but you are more. You are the vanguard of the great global revolution of the 21st Century. So, go forth into the journey of your lives, to create a better world for yourselves and for others. Think of the unborn, remember the forgotten, give hope to the forlorn, include the excluded, reach out to the unreached, and by your actions from this day onwards lay the foundations for better tomorrows.
So get on with the task of creating Social Justice, based on Pluralism, Cohesion and Social Participation, and in so doing take us to a new country, a country where, in the words of Tagore…
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led by thee into ever-widening thought and action—-
Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.”
 I hope this entry motivated you to watch or read the speech. 

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