Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today congratulated 13 students who were selected by the Mandela Foundation to meet Nobel Peace Prize winner and former South African President Nelson Mandela. The middle and high school students wrote winning essays about Mr. Mandela’s life and ideals and how people can act in day-to-day life to make the world a better place. The students will travel to South Africa for a five-day visit, during which they will meet Mr. Mandela, see the work of his foundations, meet South African students, and, based on these experiences, create a “charter” that outlines how they can apply Mr. Mandela’s values in their local and school communities. The students leave on Saturday, May 30.
“The Mandela Foundation has created an incredible opportunity for our students to meet a global leader who has dedicated his life to helping others,” Chancellor Klein said. “I am thrilled that students from New York City public schools will be among the first students to travel from outside of Africa to meet and learn from Mr. Mandela.”
The student trip to South Africa is part of a series of events scheduled for 2009 to celebrate the first-ever Mandela Day, to be held annually on July 18, Mr. Mandela’s birthday. The Mandela Day campaign calls upon people around the world to commit 67 minutes—one minute for every year that Nelson Mandela has been working for equal human rights—to make an imprint and help change the world around them.
“We are delighted that the New York City Department of Education worked with us to allow for a select group of students to travel to South Africa, to visit Mr. Mandela's offices, learn and embrace the issues that he promoted throughout his amazing career and then bring his legacy back to America in the form of a charter,” said Tim Massey, International Director of 46664, the organization coordinating all Mandela Day events. “Mr. Mandela was a proponent of issues such as peace and reconciliation, proving that one person can make a difference in a country and a world, and these students with the help of the New York City Department of Education will be able to truly experience Mr. Mandela's passion and bring it back to America to share with others. And as we approach Mandela Day on July 18, this is one of the many important events to raise awareness of Mr. Mandela's life and legacy.”
The students selected for the trip are:
- Rabih Ahmed, 9th grader at Bronx Guild High School
- Amanda Baker, 12th grader at Eleanor Roosevelt High School
- Stephanie Chung, 10th grader at Bayside High School
- Sara Clemente, 8th grader at IS 145Q – Joseph Pulitzer
- Khaya Cohen, 6th grader at JHS 54M – Booker T. Washington
- Tevin Jackson, 11th grader at Eleanor Roosevelt High School
- Mohamed Jalloh, 11th grader at International High School at Prospect Heights
- Christina Johnson, 12th grader at Renaissance High School for Musical Theater
- Curtis Jones, 10th grader at Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies High School
- Jeniffer Montano, 12th grader at Jill Chaifetz Transfer High School
- Jose Perez, 11th grader at Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies High School
- Allen Salama, 6th grader at JHS 54M – Booker T. Washington
- Jasmin Suarez, 11th grader at Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies High School
Mandela Day is supported by 46664, the campaign that bears Mr. Mandela’s Robben Island prison number and was originally launched to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, a partnership between Mr. Mandela and the Rhodes Trust dedicated to developing exceptional leadership capacity in Africa.