U.N. Pathways: A Tribute to Nelson Mandela

Photo: Amb. Kingsley Mamabolo, center, permanent representative of South Africa to the United Nations, with, from left, Sheldon Drucker, president, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Cecil Abrahams, provost, Vancouver Campus. (Photo credit: Bill Blanchard) 

Another successful event concluded the 2013-14 U.N. Pathways Lecture Series on Wednesday, April 30 as nearly 150 students, faculty and staff gathered in Lenfell Hall to hear Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations present “A Tribute to Nelson Mandela.” The event was moderated by Dr. Cecil Abrahams, Provost, Vancouver Campus, a friend of Mandela, who collaborated with him in the fight against apartheid. 

Prior to his appointment to the U.N in 2013, Mamabolo was South Africa’s High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mamabolo’s distinguished foreign relations career began in 1978 when he was appointed Deputy Head of the African National Congress (ANC) mission to the United Republic of Tanzania.  While in exile, he served as deputy head of the ANC Mission in Zimbabwe and head of Missions in Maputo, Mozambique; Cuba and Zimbabwe.

Upon returning from exile in 1994, Mamabolo served as South Africa’s first High Commissioner to Zimbabwe; permanent representative to the Organization of African Unity and to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), while concurrently serving as Ambassador to Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti.

Abrahams grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and became an anti-apartheid activist and colleague of Nelson Mandela's in the African National Congress (ANC). When he left the country in the mid-1960s to obtain a graduate degree in Canada, the government withdrew his citizenship and he was forced into exile. Abrahams launched his academic career and continued his anti-apartheid activism as a Canadian citizen before returning to South Africa in 1995 and later moving to the United States. Abrahams returned to South Africa in 1995 as vice chancellor of the University of the Western Cape. In 2001, he moved to the United States, where he taught at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and later Syracuse University in New York. Abrahams joined FDU as Vancouver Campus provost in 2009. 

Fairleigh Dickinson University has been associated with the United Nations since its inception in 1945, and that tradition has deepened through the University’s partnership with the Ambassador’s Club at the United Nations and the University’s NGO status within the U.N.’s Department of Public Information. The U.N. Pathways Ambassador Forums are sponsored by FDU’s Office of Global Learning and are presented in conjunction with The Ambassador’s Club at the United Nations. They are preceded by a half-hour reception.

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

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