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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Graça Simbene Machel, Doctors of Humane Letters

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Doctor of Humane Letters

You have written of the Xhosa proverb, I have crossed famous rivers, and because you so gracefully crossed so many famous rivers, this wonderful nation is a better place, and the world we share is a far better place.

Your story is well known but bears repeating. From an early age, you stood up for your beliefs, and, in adulthood, that translated into a resolute and principled unwillingness to accept a political and governmental system built on a foundation of repression and exploitation.

Your strength, courage and determination inspired millions. During your nearly three decades in prison, you were a beacon in the night, and eventually that beacon illuminated a new day of peace and justice and freedom.

You have also said that education is the great engine of personal development, and those are words that this University and universities throughout the world ardently embrace.

We represent the state where another quest for liberty was born and with that kindred spirit at the fore, we recognize your unequaled contribution to the struggle for freedom and dignity in South Africa and also honor the broader message that you have communicated to every corner of the globe: that the human spirit cannot and will not be kept unfree.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts, I confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. In accordance with the usual custom, and in token thereof, we award you this diploma and present you with this hood as a visible symbol of our high regard for you.

Given at Johannesburg, South Africa
February 22, 2006
 

Graça Simbene Machel
Doctor of Humane Letters

You have made a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of those who suffer from oppression and in particular have championed the cause of women and children. You have been the voice of those who struggle to be heard and the face of those who all too often remain unseen. A consistent thread runs through your life and your work, and that is your unstinting effort to make education available to people from all walks of life, recognizing that education enriches lives and leads to the creation of an enlightened society. You have advanced the cause of freedom; you have worked to feed the hungry; and you have brought safety and comfort to the despairing refugee. Your life and your work is a model to be emulated by all who seek to create a better and brighter future.

As the chair of a United Nations study of the effect of war on children, you worked to protect young lives. As independent Mozambique's first minister of education, as Chancellor of the University of Cape Town and in so many other capacities, you have stressed the importance of education and in so doing have opened the door of opportunity for countless young people in this country and across this continent.

Graça Simbene Machel, by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts, I confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. In accordance with the usual custom, and in token thereof, we award you this diploma and present you with this hood as a visible symbol of our high regard for you.

Given at Johannesburg, South Africa
February 22, 2006

2/22/06