Bill Gates has been announced as the lead lecturer at the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. The business tycoon will address the theme “Living Together” at the lecture later this year. The event will be held at the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi campus on 17 July, a day before Mandela Day.
The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is one of the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s flagship programmes to honour founder, Nelson Mandela, and to raise topical issues affecting South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.
Bill Gates said: “It’s an incredible honour to be invited to deliver this year’s Nelson Mandela Lecture. President Mandela will be remembered for generations to come for his courage, his vision, and his relentless pursuit of equality and justice. I believe, as he did, that progress is possible. We can help people everywhere live healthier, more productive lives – if we make sure that innovation reaches everyone who needs it. I can’t think of a better venue for discussing these urgent issues than the Nelson Mandela Lecture.”
The lecture encourages both local and international dialogue – often about difficult subjects – as a means to address the multiple and complex challenges that face the world today. The lectures are addressed by speakers who have made a significant contribution in their field of expertise.
The theme “Living Together” highlights the need for a new social pact across the globe to end protracted conflict, overcome intolerance and prejudice, improve access to healthcare and education, and reduce poverty and inequality.
Considered one of the most influential individuals of our time, Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, is guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, and is dedicated to building a world where every person has a chance to lead a healthy, productive life.
Professor Njabulo Ndebele, Chairman of the Board of the Nelson Mandela Foundation said: “The Nelson Mandela Foundation shares Mr Gates’s commitment to improving the quality of life for people around the world. We know that the promise of a better life is possible through improving access and quality of education, health and opportunity. These are causes that Mr Gates continues to advance and support. We are honoured to have him to share his insights on the most challenging issues of our time.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also co-founded by Gate, works with partners and grantees to combat infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest, empower women and girls to transform their lives, ensure that children and young people survive and thrive, and inspire people to take action to change the world. Through its support for innovative techniques, tools and approaches, the Gates Foundation has helped make possible dramatic progress in reducing hunger, alleviating poverty, and preventing and treating HIV, malaria, and polio in Africa and around the world.
Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation said: “We are delighted that Mr Gates has accepted our invitation to deliver this year’s Lecture. I have no doubt that his views will stimulate debate and highlight the issues that continue to curb progress of poor and marginalised communities in South Africa and around the world.”
Professor Cheryl de la Rey, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, said: “As an innovator and a philanthropist, I know Bill Gates will inspire students, staff and academics at the University of Pretoria. His dedication and commitment to improving the lives of the poor sets a remarkable example for us all. We are delighted to partner with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to host the lecture.”