Bill Gates to deliver the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at UP

Posted on July 08, 2016

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, in association with the University of Pretoria, is delighted to announce that Bill Gates will deliver the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 17 July 2016, the eve of Mandela Day.

Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will address the theme 'Living together' in his lecture at the University of Pretoria's Mamelodi Campus.

The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is one of the Foundation's flagship programmes to honour our founder, Nelson Mandela, and to raise topical issues affecting South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world. It encourages both local and international dialogue – often about difficult subjects – as a means of addressing the multiple and complex challenges that face the world today. The lectures are presented by speakers who have made a significant contribution in their field of expertise.

'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, 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. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works with partners and grantees to combat infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the poorest people of the world; 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.

'It is 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,' said Gates.

'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 share his insights on the most challenging issues of our time,' said Professor Njabulo Ndebele, Chairman of the Board of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

'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 the progress of poor and marginalised communities in South Africa and around the world,' said Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

'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', said Professor Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria.


About Bill Gates

Gates, now 60, left Harvard University in 1975 during his junior year to focus on Microsoft, the company he founded with his childhood friend Paul Allen. As chief software architect and chairman, Gates led the company to become the global leader in business and personal software, services and solutions.

In 2000, Bill and his wife Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – the world's largest private foundation.

Today, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works with partners to find innovative ways to overcome the biggest barriers that prevent people from making the most of their lives, including extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries.

Gates has received numerous awards for his philanthropic work and holds several honorary doctorates from universities throughout the world.

For more information on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation see:


Previous speakers of the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture:

2003:        Former US President, Bill Clinton

2004:        Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

2005:        Nobel Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai 

2006:        Former President Thabo Mbeki

2007:        Former Secretary General of the UN, Mr Kofi Annan

2008:        Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirlea

2009:        Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank, Professor Muhammad Yunus 

2010:        Chilean-American author, activist and professor of Literature and Latin-American Studies, Ariel Dorfman

2011:        Director of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, Ismail Serageldin

2012:        Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson

2013:        Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr Mo Ibrahim

2014:        Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet

2015:        Economist, Thomas Piketty

For more information, contact:
Lunga Nene
The Nelson Mandela Foundation
+27 (0) 76 420 1910
Moky Makura
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  
+27 (0) 60 583 4566
Laverne Gardner
University of Pretoria
+27 (0) 12 420 3516
- Author Nelson Mandela Foundation

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