UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today paid tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday night, 5 December.
“Nelson Mandela was truly a giant among men,” Irina Bokova said. “He not only changed South Africa’s history, he changed the world and made it a better place. He taught us all a lesson on the power of peace and reconciliation; the importance of forgiveness and respect for the dignity of each and every human being .
“UNESCO is proud and honoured to have counted Nelson Mandela as a member of its family,” the Director-General said. “The greatest tribute we can pay him, is to carry on his message of hope and to continue his fierce defense of the values he stood for.”
“My thoughts go out to his family, and indeed to all of the people of South Africa, who are mourning his passing.“
In 1991, Nelson Mandela was awarded the UNESCO-Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize. In later years, he served the Organization as a Goodwill Ambassador.