Delta Air Lines and the University of Georgia will present the 2007 Delta Prize for Global Understanding to Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa, at Delta Headquarters in Atlanta on March 7. Mandela will be recognized for his leadership in ending apartheid, bringing about a peaceful transition to democracy and helping make possible interracial understanding in South Africa.
Established in 1997 with an $890,000 endowment grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation, the Delta Prize is administered by UGA. The prize consists of a sculpture and a $10,000 cash award.
“It is a tremendous honor for the University of Georgia and Delta Air Lines to present the 2007 Delta Prize for Global Understanding to Nelson Mandela,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “Mr. Mandela is one of the towering figures of the 20th century, and his quiet determination during the struggle for human rights in South Africa was and continues to be an inspiration to people around the globe. He joins the pantheon of Delta Prize winners, whose collective good works have brought peace to places where there was no peace and, consequently, have made the world a better place.”
Mandela spent 27 years in prison for leading the African National Congress’ resistance to apartheid, during which time he clandestinely wrote his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom and provided inspiration to the millions of black people oppressed by institutionalized racism. In 1994, four years after his release, he was elected president of the new Republic of South Africa in the first nonracial democratic election the land had known.
“I saw my mission as one of preaching reconciliation, of binding the wounds of the country, of engendering trust and confidence,” said Mandela.