Annual Lecture 2017

Amina J Mohammed will deliver the 15th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 25 November 2017.

The 2017 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture will be delivered by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed, in Cape Town on 25 November 2017.

The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is one of the Foundation’s flagship programmes to honour its founder, Nelson Mandela. For 14 years, global leaders have used the lecture to raise topical issues affecting South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.

Mohammed will address the theme “Centering gender: reducing inequality through inclusion”.

In 1994, at the opening of South Africa’s first post-apartheid Parliament, Mandela said freedom “cannot be achieved until women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression”.

In 1995, Mandela’s government ratified the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and also introduced free care for mothers before and after giving birth.

Mohammed was appointed UN Deputy Secretary-General on 1 January 2017. Previously, as special adviser to former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mohammed was instrumental in the UN’s setting of its Sustainable Development Goals. This set of 17 goals, aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring global peace and prosperity by 2030, was unanimously adopted by 193 UN member states on 25 September 2015.

The 15th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Amina J Mohammed was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) on 1 January 2017. Previously, as special adviser to former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mohammed was instrumental in the UN’s setting of its Sustainable Development Goals. This set of 17 goals, aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring global peace and prosperity by 2030, was unanimously adopted by 193 UN member states on 25 September 2015.

They build on the general success of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and introduce new aims, such as addressing climate change and economic inequality, and promoting innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice.

In the years before Mohammed joined the UN, she worked for three successive Nigerian administrations, serving as special adviser on the MDGs and providing advice on issues such as poverty, public-sector reform and sustainable development. She coordinated programmes worth $10-billion annually for MDGs.

Mohammed has also served as coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Project; founded and led a think tank, the Center for Development Policy Solutions; taught in Columbia University’s Development Practice Master of Public Administration programme; and worked in the engineering and surveying industry in Nigeria.

She is also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, and served on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the Independent Expert Advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development; the Global Development Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the African Women’s Millennium Initiative; Girl Effect; 2016 African Union Reform; and the ActionAid International Right to Education project.

Mohammed began her career in the Nigerian private sector with architects and engineers responsible for the project management of health, education and public-sector buildings.