Sunday letters: Mandela inspired City Year Columbia

December 15, 2013 


South African President Nelson Mandela


— It was Nelson Mandela who changed and inspired City Year, transforming us from a U.S. organization into an international one.

In 2001, President Clinton called President Mandela, who invited City Year leaders to come to South Africa to speak at a conference about building a civil society in a post-apartheid South Africa. City Year South Africa is now in its eighth year working in high-need schools in Johannesburg. City Year also serves the United States and the United Kingdom.

Here in Columbia, our corps members and students acknowledge the concept of Ubuntu, learned from South Africa City Year. It is the understanding that “my humanity is tied to yours” and that we need to treat each other with tremendous kindness, empathy and concern.

Mandela called education “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Today, we rededicate our work in Richland 1 and Lexington 4 schools to the spirit of Nelson Mandela.

Gail Wilson-Giarratano


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