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 Foundation's calendar, and encourages people to enter into dialogue – often about difficult subjects – in order to address the challenges we face today.
Previous speakers include 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 Yunus; Ismail 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; Dr Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; and Her Excellency, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile.
Nobel laureate Prof Wangari Maathai delivered the Third Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 19 July 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”.Find out more
Former United States President Bill Clinton delivered the First Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 19 July 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.”Find out more