Item 1248 - Message from President Nelson Mandela to the Diamond Jubilee Banquet of the South African Institute of International Affairs

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ZA COM MR-S-1248


Message from President Nelson Mandela to the Diamond Jubilee Banquet of the South African Institute of International Affairs


  • 1994-11-09 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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Diamond Jubilee Banquet

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  • English

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Dr Conrad Strauss, National Chairperson of the South African Institute of International Affairs;
Dr Tony O'Reilly;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a rare achievement for an organisation to enjoy a life- span as enduring as the South African Institute of International Affairs. It is even a greater achievement for it to hold onto its ideals over such a long period and not waver under the most difficult conditions.

I congratulate you on this august occasion.

You are celebrating your anniversary in a momentous year for South Africa. At last, our country has assumed its rightful place among free and democratic nations of the world. This collective achievement of our people has brought enormous possibilities for South Africa's advancement in international relations. it also widens the horizons of research and study.

Our own humble contribution to the science and art of negotiated transitions to democracy has placed South Africa at the centre-stage of world attention. Thus we are called upon to contribute in equal measure to the study of international affairs, in as much as we have been afforded the opportunity to benefit from the new status we enjoy.

In this milieu, there are many ways in which South Africa and its institutions have to redefine themselves. Not least among them, is the recognition of our geographic positioning in the world and the prioritisation which follows from this, both in inter-state relations and research.

The Institute was formed in 1934 to encourage independent research and public education on international affairs. There were times when doing so, meant antagonising the powers that-be, whose pre-occupation was to defy everything that civilised international behaviour entailed.

The world into which South Africa has emerged, is one faced with many, many challenges. These include moral,
ecological as well as material questions that need to be addressed with urgency, if we are to attain peace, justice, democracy and prosperity for all.

I am pleased to learn that the SAIIA has taken far-reaching decisions to step up its activities. You do have considerable human and material resources which can be utilised to the benefit of the country as a whole, including both government and civil society. The SAIIA is in a unique position to serve the national interest without being a mouthpiece of any interest group. And, with our unique history, one cannot over-emphasise the need to ensure that all South Africans, especially those from disadvantaged communities, become active partners in your endeavours.

With you tonight is an illustrious person who has demonstrated considerable faith in the capacity of South Africa to weather the storms of transition. He has already made significant investment in our economy, and continues to show how he values relations with our nation. I join you in welcoming to our country, Dr Tony O'Reilly, the guest speaker at this Diamond Jubilee.

Finally, may I express my apologies and sincere unhappiness at not being able to be with you at this function tonight. Prior engagements have made it impossible for me to join you.

But be assured of my best wishes; and with you, I look forward to another sixty years and more of the South African Institute of International Affairs.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 21/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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