Published on May 23, 2013
Prime Minister Stephen Harper leaves Ottawa, Tuesday, May 21, 2013., on route to Lima, Peru. Harper will also visit Cali, Columbia for the Pacific Alliance summit.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Published on December 06, 2013
World has lost "one of its great moral leaders," Harper says of Mandela
PRETORIA, South Africa – Prime Minister Stephen Harper and an entourage of Canadian dignitaries paid last respects Wednesday to former South African president Nelson Mandela in Pretoria.
Harper and three former prime ministers, as well as premiers and former governors-general, were among those who passed in front of the coffin where Mandela is lying in state for the next three days.
The coffin rests is in an amphitheatre which now bears the name of the anti-apartheid icon, who died last Thursday at the age of 95.
Mandela’s body will lay in state until the weekend when a state funeral will be held - the first state funeral ever held in modern South Africa.
In a frenzy of confusion that has marked events since Mandela’s death, no foreign media were allowed into the amphitheatre where the world leaders filed past the coffin.
The mood in Pretoria has turned somewhat sombre as the country mourns the loss of their Madiba. Still, throngs of people continue to celebrate in the streets for a live well lived.
Harper’s delegation includes his wife, three of his predecessors, four premiers, two former governors general and Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair.
Following the viewing, Harper announced new scholarships in Mandela’s memory to benefit both Canadian and African students.
The African scholarships are aimed at early career public sector professionals in Africa to study in such areas as governance, public policy and administration.
The program will consider candidates from across Africa for study in Canada for one to two years, with special consideration given to female students.
Harper said the scholarships will help Africans gain the required knowledge to help advance economic and social development in their home countries.
“Nelson Mandela believed that education, more than anything else, improved the chances of leading a better life,” said Harper.
The Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will contribute up to $5 million over five years toward the scholarships, to be matched by the MasterCard Foundation.
The Canadian scholarships will be open to as many as 20 Canadians pursuing master’s or doctoral-level degrees in social sciences and humanities.
The studies will focus on national unity, democracy, freedom and human rights, which Harper said Mandela had ”championed so tirelessly during his remarkable life.”
Up to 10 master’s scholarships and up to 10 doctoral scholarships will be awarded for the first time in 2015, following a 2014 competition.
- by Terry Pedwell - The Canadian Press