Mandela Washington Fellows Send-off Celebration

Mandela Washington Fellows Send-off Celebration


This fellowship has so
quickly become such an extraordinary significant
thing. The fact that we had shout outs all over 702
today. It almost doesn’t surprise me because very
quickly it’s become a real significant part of what we
at the U.S. Mission in South Africa do, and a significant
piece of how we think about contributing in terms of our
bilateral relationship. It joins really, an amazing
history of U.S. exchange programs. I am really really
really really honored to welcome Redi Thlabi. I feel
like this is one where you know they say: “who
needs no introduction”, it’s really true. But to
say, you honor us at the U.S. Mission, and you’re
someone who is a source of inspiration, and we want to
be partners with you in inspiring and being
inspired, so thank you. Thank you everyone. Over the
years I’ve had a great relationship with the U.S.
Mission, with every Ambassador who’s come to
South Africa, and I am also committed to continuing that
going forward. Where will tomorrow’s leaders come
from? They will come from amongst you. Every single
one of you is a leader. We have to think and reflect on
leadership and what it means. Does it mean holding
high office? Does it mean being popular, being a
celebrity? Or does it mean, using every avenue
available, every resource at your disposal to make a
difference? I think it means the latter. It means that as
young professionals, you are the people who have to think
quite profoundly and deeply, about the corporate culture
you create in the organizations that you will
be leading in the future. You are the people who have
to think about whether or not you disengage when the
going gets tough, and I would encourage you to align
your purpose, to align your passion to something far
bigger than yourself. This is not just an opportunity
to go the United States and have a good time. Do have a
good time, but reflect on what it means to be a
citizen of the world.

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