Rotary members worldwide are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nelson Mandela, a man who overcame unimaginable hardships to emerge as one of the greatest leaders of our time -- and one of our greatest humanitarians.
Mr. Mandela shared Rotary’s commitment to humanitarian service and world peace, and twice as President of South Africa accepted Rotary recognition for his commitment to helping those in need, especially the children of southern Africa. In 1995, President Mandela received the Rotary International Award of Honor. Two years later, he accepted Rotary’s highest award, the Rotary Award for World Understanding. In true fashion, he donated the $100,000 grant accompanying the award to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
Rotary is especially grateful for his strong support of the global effort to eradicate the crippling disease polio, our organizaton’s highest priority. Mr. Mandela himself helped administer oral polio vaccine to the children of South Africa, which has been declared polio-free.
Our deepest condolences go to Mr. Mandela’s family, to his millions of admirers worldwide, and especially to the People of South Africa, including the country’s Rotary members, who knew him as a friend and staunch supporter of humanitarian service.
Despite this great loss, Mr. Mandela’s legacy of courage, determination, and commitment will forever inspire us to move forward in our effort to achieve a better, more peaceful world.
Ron D. Burton
President, Rotary International