Annual Lecture 2016

Bill Gates will deliver the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 17 July 2016, on the eve of Mandela Day.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, in association with the University of Pretoria, is delighted to announce that Bill Gates will deliver the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 17 July 2016, the eve of Mandela Day.

Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will address the theme “Living Together” in his lecture.

The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is one of the Foundation’s flagship programmes to honour our founder, Nelson Mandela, and to raise topical issues affecting South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world. It encourages both local and international dialogue – often about difficult subjects – as a means to address the multiple and complex challenges that face the world today. The lectures are addressed by speakers who have made a significant contribution in their field of expertise.

“Living Together” highlights the need for a new social pact across the globe to end protracted conflict, overcome intolerance and prejudice, improve access to healthcare and education, and reduce poverty and inequality.

Considered one of the most influential individuals of our time, Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, is guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, and is dedicated to building a world where every person has a chance to lead a healthy, productive life.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works with partners and grantees to combat infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest; empower women and girls to transform their lives; ensure that children and young people survive and thrive; and inspire people to take action to change the world. Through its support for innovative techniques, tools and approaches, the Gates Foundation has helped make possible dramatic progress in reducing hunger, alleviating poverty, and preventing and treating HIV, malaria and polio in Africa and around the world.

“It’s an incredible honour to be invited to deliver this year’s Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. President Mandela will be remembered for generations to come for his courage, his vision, and his relentless pursuit of equality and justice. I believe, as he did, that progress is possible. We can help people everywhere live healthier, more productive lives – if we make sure that innovation reaches everyone who needs it. I can’t think of a better forum for discussing these urgent issues than the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture,” says Gates.

“The Nelson Mandela Foundation shares Mr Gates’s commitment to improving the quality of life for people around the world. We know that the promise of a better life is possible through improving access to and quality of education, healthcare and opportunity. These are causes that Mr Gates continues to advance and support. We are honoured to have him share his insights on the most challenging issues of our time,” says Professor Njabulo Ndebele, Chairperson of the Board of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“We are delighted that Mr Gates has accepted our invitation to deliver this year’s lecture. I have no doubt that his views will stimulate debate and highlight the issues that continue to curb progress of poor and marginalised communities in South Africa and around the world,” says Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The lecture will be held at the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi Campus.

“As an innovator and a philanthropist, I know Bill Gates will inspire students, staff and academics at the University of Pretoria. His dedication and commitment to improving the lives of the poor sets a remarkable example for us all. We are delighted to partner with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to host the lecture,” says Professor Cheryl de la Rey, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Pretoria.

Applications for the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture are closed.

Bill Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with co-chair Melinda Gates, he shapes and approves grantmaking strategies, advocates for the foundation’s issues, and helps set the overall direction of the organization. 

Bill and Melinda Gates work together to expand opportunity to the world’s most disadvantaged people by collaborating with grantees and partners. They also participate in national and international events and travel extensively to focus attention on the issues the foundation champions.

Gates began his major philanthropic efforts in 1994, when he created the William H. Gates Foundation, which focused on global health. Three years later, he and Melinda created the Gates Library Foundation, which worked to bring public access computers with Internet connections to libraries in the United States.

Its name changed to the Gates Learning Foundation in 1999 to reflect its focus on ensuring that low-income minority students are prepared for college and have the means to attend. In 2000, to increase efficiency and communication, the two groups merged into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 1975, Gates left Harvard University in his junior year to focus on Microsoft, the company he founded with his childhood friend Paul Allen. As chief software architect and chairman, Gates led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software, services, and solutions. In July 2008, Gates transitioned into a new role as chairman of Microsoft and advisor on some key development projects. (See Microsoft’s web site for more information on his work with the company.)

Gates also founded Corbis, which is developing a comprehensive digital archive of art and photography from public and private collections around the globe. He is a member of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. His father, William H. Gates Sr., is a co-chair of the foundation and a retired attorney. His late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International. The Gateses have three children.

The live stream will begin on 17 July at 5pm (UTC+2:00).