Learning from Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela enriched the human experience and challenged people in South Africa and around the world to be our best selves. His global impact was tremendous, inspiring so many people and organizations to work for peace and justice, and to overcome conflicts through reconciliation, dialogue, and partnership.

For Synergos, he inspired one of our key programs, which aims to create meaningful social connections among children in Southern Africa. He spoke to us poignantly about the isolation of children in rural communities in South Africa and Mozambique, which he described as one of the tragic consequences of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This led to the creation of an initiative to strengthen social connectedness of children and youth, organized in partnership with Kim Samuel Johnson, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and the Foundation for Community Development.

We were honored to have Nelson Mandela accept our David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award in 2007. At that time, he spoke of “the transformative power of dialogue and multistakeholder engagement.”

In the face of so many complex and difficult problems, we take that message to heart and continue to build upon his legacy.

Photo by J.D. Scott during 2002 meeting with Nelson Mandela by members of Synergos’ Global Philanthropists Circle.