The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Series

The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Series invites prominent people to drive debate on significant social issues. The lecture series is an important event on the Centre's calendar, and encourages people to enter into dialogue – often about difficult subjects – in order to address the challenges we face today.

Previous speakers incude Bill Clinton; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; former President Thabo Mbeki; world-acclaimed Chilean-American author, human rights activist and distinguished professor of Literature and Latin-American Studies Ariel Dorfman; Nobel laureate Prof Wangari Maathai; Mr Kofi Annan; Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; Professor Muhammad YunusIsmail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria (BA) in Egypt; Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice; and Dr Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

Annual lecture 2014

Her Excellency, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, presented the 12th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 9 August 2014 at the Cape Town City Hall.

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Annual lecture 2013

Dr Mo Ibrahim presented the 11th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 17 August at the University of South Africa in Pretoria.

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Annual lecture 2012

Mary Robinson presented the 10th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 5 August at the Cape Town City Hall.

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Annual lecture 2011

Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria (BA) in Egypt, presented the Ninth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on July 23, 2011 at Johannesburg’s Linder Auditorium. The lecture focused on the themes of diversity, cohesion and social justice.

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Annual lecture 2010

World-acclaimed Chilean-American author, human rights activist and distinguished professor of Literature and Latin-American Studies, Ariel Dorfman, presented the Eighth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at Johannesburg’s Linder Auditorium on July 31, 2010.

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Annual lecture 2009

The 2009 Annual Lecture was delivered by Professor Muhammad Yunus on Saturday July 11 at the Johannesburg City Hall.

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Annual lecture 2008

The 2008 Annual Lecture was delivered by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Saturday July 12 in Kliptown.

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Annual lecture 2007

The 2007 Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture was delivered by Mr Kofi Annan on Sunday July 22 at the University of Witwatersrand’s Education Campus in the Linder Auditorium. It was attended by a wide-ranging audience of about 1 500 invited guests.

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Annual lecture 2006

The Fourth Annual Lecture was delivered by former South Africa president Thabo Mbeki on July 29, 2006. Quoting from poetry, the Bible and great works on economics, Mbeki urged people against the worship of personal wealth.

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Annual lecture 2005

Nobel laureate Prof Wangari Maathai delivered the Third Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on July 19, 2005. She called for Africa to “rise up and walk”, noting that only an empowered Africa could extricate itself from poverty and despair. She called disempowerment “perhaps the most unrecognised problem in Africa today”.

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Annual lecture 2004

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu delivered the Second Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture on November 23, 2004, in honour of Mr Nelson Mandela.

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Annual lecture 2003

Former United States President Bill Clinton delivered the First Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on July 19, 2003. He used a character in a poem by Dylan Thomas to describe Nelson Mandela’s retirement. Like the man in the poem, Mandela “refused to go gentle into that good night”, he said. “Instead he simply soldiered on, raging instead against injustice and leading us toward the light.”

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