President F.W. de Klerk, Gary Spanovich, and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle
Last week, I had the honor of meeting and listening to Nobel Peace Prize winner President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, who lectured as a benefit for the Wholistic Peace Institute. He spoke on his work liberating South Africa from apartheid with Nelson Mandela, and on unilaterally stopping South Africa's nuclear weapons program. It was a huge thrill to shake hands with and listen to this great leader. In his after-dinner speech, he said:
"I am African. I look like I'm European or American, but I'm African. My family has lived in Africa for 300 years. Whatever your preconceived notions about Africa, get rid of them. And recognize that Africa has enormous riches in resources and people. China and the rest of Asia has realized this and is investing in Africa. America and Europe must do so too."
There are many perks in my job. Meeting and learning from great people, either from abroad or from right here in Portland, is perhaps the best of them. Many thanks to Gary Spanovich of the Wholistic Peace Institute for bringing President de Klerk to Portland and for welcoming me to the events.