Minister Paradis Statement on Nelson Mandela International Day
Posted by African Press International on July 20, 2014
OTTAWA, Canada, July 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — We commemorate and honour the memory of Nelson Mandela. His extraordinary legacy in dismantling apartheid and leading national reconciliation in South Africa as its first elected black president is a testament to the values of democracy, human rights and freedom that can endure despite oppression.
As Canadians, we are privileged to live in a society built on these tenets. Our international development work, including our efforts in poverty reduction, is a clear reflection of the values of democracy, human rights and freedom that are fundamental to Canadians. Nelson Mandela paid tribute to these values when he became an honorary Canadian citizen in 2001: “Your [Canada’s] respect for diversity within your own society and your tolerant and civilized manner of dealing with the challenges of difference and diversity had always been our inspiration.”
Nelson Mandela championed respect for children’s and women’s rights as intensely as he fought against apartheid, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS. Thanks to his tireless work and campaigning to reduce mother-to-child transmission, significant progress in reducing the number of new HIV infections has been made. “Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS,” he said. Canada is continuing this work. At the Saving Every Woman, Every Child Summit Prime Minister Stephen Harper released the Toronto Statement, which laid the groundwork to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children under the age of five within a generation, and committed an additional $3.5 billion in funding support.
Nelson Mandela also firmly believed that education is the foundation of democracy and that it is one of the most powerful tools for changing the world. That is why, on December 11, 2013, in memory of Nelson Mandela, Prime Minister Harper announced the creation of the African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarships Fund. The fund, co-sponsored by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and The MasterCard Foundation, will provide sub-Saharan African professionals with masters-degree-level scholarships to access high-quality academic and professional training in Canada to prepare them to assume leadership roles in key social and economic sectors in Africa. Proposals to manage the fund are currently under consideration.
Prime Minister Harper also launched the Canada Graduate Scholarships, which will be awarded to Canadian graduate students studying subjects, such as freedom and human rights, that marked the South African leader’s life. As the Prime Minister stated, “Nelson Mandela’s lasting legacy is the example he gave on his long march to freedom…his grace and humility throughout that walk…ensures that his remarkable example will inform others for generations.” Indeed, we should all continue to do our part to create a more secure, peaceful and equitable world—not just today, but every day hereafter.
Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
Canada – Ministry of Foreign Affairs