Reflections on Nelson Mandela’s passing by Head of School Dick Bradford, sent to the Athenian community on December 6, 2013.
Dear Students and Colleagues,
As you know, Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday. We will fly the flag at half-staff until sunset on Monday out of respect for his life and work. Nelson Mandela was a man who dared to take on a country steeped in the culture of apartheid. He endured 27 years of imprisonment and emerged as the leader of the country that put him in jail. He changed forever the rule of apartheid, pushing South Africa, through the force of his will, into the 21st century. You should also know that among his many accomplishments and positions on the world stage, he was also for a number of years a Patron of the Round Square Conference of schools, which meant he was in direct support of the pillars of Round Square.
I hope we all take a few minutes to reflect today on the life and times of Nelson Mandela. Advisors might want to spend some time in their meetings on this, or classroom teachers. I know we are crunched for time here at the end of the semester, but however we do it, let’s each find a way to remember a man who was living proof of the famous quotation from Margaret Mead when she said: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
I am including some links for your consideration that have images and words about this remarkable man:
An overview of his life from the History Channel
A slide show on his life from the Daily Intelligencer
Article including a 12 minute video outlining his life from the New York Times
The Nelson Mandela website, which provides an opportunity to send condolences to his family
Excerpt from Speech Delivered by HM King Constantine at the Second Round Square Conference for 2012
September 27, 2012
It took a great visionary, one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century to help bring balance in South Africa. As most of you know, the former President of this country, Nelson Mandela, is a Patron of Round Square. I had the good fortune to ask him if he would agree to become a Patron at the Southport Conference in 1995.
He has asked me to convey to you, not only his best wishes, but also that you will take full advantage of the friendships you will form in the coming days, for they will stay with you for the rest of your lives and help you in gaining a better understanding of the future and of different cultures.
As I stand here, in anticipation for what is promising to be another great Conference, I fully identify with President Mandela’s words: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’.