Despite the winter storm last Tuesday, nearly 100 students, faculty
and staff came together to commemorate former South African president
and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela. The program began in Jubilee
Auditorium and was followed by a candlelight vigil on the University
Green. The University is planning additional events to celebrate Mr.
Mandela's life and legacy this spring.
Seton Hall's tribute received regional and national coverage including FIOs1 News, USA Today, Patch, WGBO and NJ.com.
Rev. Dr. Forrest Pritchett, program director of Seton Hall's Martin
Luther King Jr. Leadership Program and a facilitator for the
commemoration, opened the program: "When you think even about the
American experience it falls to each generation to make the dream of
freedom real. As we look at great people like Nelson Mandela and Martin
Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa, people who walk to the tune of a
different drummer, they make civilization better, not just life in their
Naaborle Sackeyfio, assistant professor in the School of Diplomacy
and International Relations, then mourned the loss of one of the world’s
most memorable figures in history. "Nelson Mandela was an extraordinary
individual and indelible icon that will be sorely missed for
generations to come," she said. "An inspiration the world over, his
efforts to promote peace, justice and history are sure to remain
emblazoned in the corridors of our great heroes. His struggles, courage
and commitment to justice speak to tenacity of the human spirit. As we
reflect on his potent and enduring legacy, it is my hope that the
lessons of his leadership emperor and renew our commitment to
transnational justice and human rights for all. In tribute to Madiba, it
is only fitting that we celebrate a man who exuded profound dignity,
humility and a set of values that are forever extolled in the annals of
Rev. Dr. Pritchett reflected on how different the world would be if
all people followed in the footsteps of leaders like Mandela.
"In his book, Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela said, 'Man's
goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.' I often
wonder what life would be like if each and every one of us were allowed
to let our goodness light the way. Because we walk in the shadows of
these great people, these are the people who the content of their
character is quantifiable by their achievements. Nelson Mandela is a
role model. He was an inspiration. He was motivational. Colonialism left
an indelible scar on the modern face of civilization. But the work of a
handful of people removed that scar. Now we all are called upon to heal
the wound. Here at Seton Hall, we hope to not only commemorate his
passing but hope to motivate the next generation. I’ll look to the
future," he said.
Elizabeth Wilson, assistant professor in the School of Diplomacy and
International Relations, recognized Mandela's influence on setting the
trail for human rights in other countries.
"I think that Nelson Mandela, in addition to everything else, will
be remembered as a figure who embodies a new kind of political
transformation, based on human rights and open to forgiveness and
reconciliation. The path-breaking efforts led by South Africa in its
post-apartheid transition encouraged other countries to attempt new,
largely nonviolent modes of political change. This has been seen most
recently in Tunisia's struggles for peaceful political change in the
direction of true democracy. Mandela has said that he learned from
Gandhi, who early in his life advocated for the rights of Indians in
South Africa and who perfected his nonviolent political tactics there.
The global anti-apartheid campaign orchestrated by the General Assembly
and then the Free South Africa movement remains a model of what a
committed, global human rights campaign can be," she said.
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