Baltimore, USA, and Madrid, Spain – May 6, 2010 - Six universities in the Laureate International Universities network will confer an honorary doctorate degree to Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, in recognition of his tireless fight against apartheid within and beyond the borders of his country. The award ceremony is scheduled for May 7 in Madrid, Spain.
The six universities in the Laureate International Universities network awarding the honorary degree to Mandela include Universidad Europea de Madrid (Spain), Universidad Andrés Bello (Chile), Walden University (Minneapolis, USA), Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (Peru), İstanbul Bilgi University (Turkey) and Universidad de las Américas (Ecuador). These universities enroll nearly 150,000 students and are each considered leading institutions in their countries.
Nelson Mandela has shown us the better side of humanity and his historic accomplishments will continue to inspire future generations,” said Douglas L. Becker, chairman and chief executive officer of Laureate Education, Inc. “With grace, integrity and unrelenting determination, he has demonstrated the potential in each of us to effect positive change. Nelson Mandela once said ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. This is our mission at Laureate International Universities; we are dedicated to expanding access to education because we believe that when our students succeed, countries prosper and societies benefit.”
Education is the great engine of personal development,” said Nelson Mandela. “It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another."
Attending the award ceremonies on behalf of Mandela will be Vusi Bruce Koloane, ambassador of South Africa in Spain. Also participating will be Sathyandranath Ragunanan "Mac" Maharaj, a political activist who served time in prison with Mandela on Robben Island, and British writer and journalist John Carlin, author of the novel Playing the Enemy, on which the feature film Invictus is based.
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner in South Africa before becoming the country's first black president. Mandela was a leading member of the African National Congress (ANC), which opposed South Africa's white minority government and its policy of racial separation, known as apartheid. Mandela is a worldwide symbol of resistance to racism. He was awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, and in November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly announced that Mandela's birthday, July 18, is to be known as “Mandela Day” to mark his contribution to world freedom.
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