Saturday, June 29, 2013

Obama in Africa ~ The Shadow of Mandela

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From NBC News
. . . President Barack Obama met with South African President Jacob Zuma on the grounds of the historic Union Buildings on Saturday. The two held a press conference in an ornate and intimate room that lasted over an hour. It included topics ranging from international trade to restructuring the United Nations to immigration and of course, the health of former President Nelson Mandela.

Zuma said of Mandela’s health that his condition hadn’t changed but that the country hopes that he will be out of the hospital soon. Earlier, the White House announced that while the president and First Lady will meet with members of the Mandela family today but they will not be visiting the ailing former leader. But Obama took a moment to honor Mandela’s legacy, “The struggle here against apartheid for freedom, Madiba’s moral courage, this country’s historic transition to a free and democratic nation has been a personal inspiration to me. It has been an inspiration to the world.”

. . . Obama said that on Saturday he would introduce an international youth initiative, saying, “This afternoon I will be in Soweto to announce a major expansion of our initiatives to invest in young Africans who will shape this country and this continent for decades to come.” The Young African Leadership program will now include a “Washington Fellowship.” The White House says it “will bring 500 young leaders to U.S. universities and colleges each year for academic and leadership training, beginning in 2014, with the goal of increasing to 1000 participants per year within five years.”

On Sunday, the president plans to travel to Cape Town where he will visit the historic Robben Island with his family and he will head to Tanzania on Monday.

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