Despite his current health status and the speculation that ranges from a critical condition to on the road to recovery, today is Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, and we want to celebrate his incredible life and work on this momentous occasion. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa, a Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family.
According to Wikipedia, Mandela attended Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the African National Congress and becoming a founding member of its Youth League.
To learn more about his work to overthrow apartheid in South Africa, his decades-long imprisonment, leadership of the country at its President, and how he inspired freedom fighters and activists around the world, click here.
(L to R) Ronald Allen, Keith Hawkins, and Jacob Tzegaegbe
In 1953 the Marshall Scholarships program was established by an act of the British Parliament. Funded by the British government, the program is a national gesture of thanks to the American people for aid received under the Marshall Plan, the U.S.-financed program that led to the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. The scholarships provide funds for up to two years of study at a British university, and include money for travel, living expenses, and books. Applicants must earn a degree at an American college or university with a minimum of a 3.7 grade point average. The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission is authorized to award up to 40 scholarships each year. This year 34 scholarships were awarded. It appears from JBHE research, that three of the 34 winners are African Americans.
Ronald Allen is a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He will be commissioned into the Marine Corps in May. A native of Seattle, he plans to study for a master’s degree in public policy at King’s College in London.
Keith Hawkins is a senior at Ohio University in Athens. He is an astrophysics major in the university’s Honors Tutorial College. Last summer he spent time conducting research at Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii. He will pursue a Ph.D. in astronomy at Cambridge University. An avid bicyclist, he routinely bikes 50 to 60 miles each weekend.
Jacob Tzegaegbe is a 2011 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in civil engineering. This May he will earn a master’s degree in civil engineering. His research focused on bus rapid transit systems in African cities. With his Marshall Scholarship, he will pursue a Ph.D. in planning studies at University College London.
Every two minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from preventable or treatable complications of pregnancy and childbirth. For every woman who dies, 20 more experience serious illness or disability. And every year, three million babies do not survive their first month of life.
When Family Care International was founded 25 years ago, the world was paying little attention to the hundreds of thousands of women who were dying each year. The first international organization dedicated to reducing maternal death, Family Care International helped put the issue of maternal health on the map. Now maternal mortality has been cut in half, but much work remains to be done.
Headquartered in New York City with locally-staffed offices in three countries in Africa and two in Latin America, Family Care International works in close partnership with governments, civil society organizations, donors, communities, grassroots advocates, and women’s groups. Pairing efforts to strengthen the capacity of local organizations, advocates, and governments with a powerful advocacy voice on the global stage, the organization works to ensure that all women have access to the maternal and reproductive health care they need. Doing so saves the lives and protects the health of women and improves the well-being and prosperity of their children, families, and communities.
Mandela, the leader of the ANC, spent 27 years behind bars after being convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life in prison. De Klerk worked with Mandela to transition the country from apartheid rule to the majority rule it enjoys today. Both he and Mandela were awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize for Peace for their efforts. In 1994, Mandela won the presidency in South Africa’s first all-inclusive elections. In 1999, at 80 years old, he opted out of another run for presidency to retire from public life.
Ms. Margarida Matsinhe (left) has worked in vaccine delivery in Mozambique for more than 30 years.
Sixty-four-year-old Margarida Matsinhe has won the 2013 Gates Vaccine Innovation Award for her “instrumental” work in overhauling the vaccine system in her native Mozambique.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, made the announcement on Wednesday in his annual letter. The award recognizes “revolutionary ways” for immunizing the world’s poorest children. Nominees are assessed on innovation and creativity, impact and scale.
Matsinhe, a field officer with the non-profit Village Reach, has worked in vaccine delivery in Mozambique for more than 30 years, including during the country’s civil war and post-war reconstruction period. She currently serves on the government’s Committee of Experts on Immunisation and advises leaders on vaccine quality and distribution strategies.
Partly as a result of her work, Mozambique has achieved vaccine coverage of 95 percent, but Matsinhe says her goal is no less than 100 percent.