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Message by President Nelson Mandela to IDRC on the occasion of its 25th anniversary

October 29, 2010

On the occasion of IDRC’s 25th anniversary in 1995, Mandela wrote a letter to thank Canada and IDRC for the “critical role” they had played, a reflection of the enormous reservoir of trust established between Canada and South Africa under Mandela’s visionary guidance.

I wish sincerely to tender my apologies for being unable to attend the 25th anniversary dinner of the International Development Research Centre. I had so wished that I could be with you for this important occasion. However, the vagaries of fate dictated that I should postpone my visit to Canada.

Though I am not able to be with you, I extend my hand across the miles to congratulate you on this important occasion.  Over the past 25 years IDRC has been assisting scientists and researchers around the world to identify long-term solutions to development problems.  It is without question that your organization has made significant contribution to the advancement of scientific and technological capabilities of especially the developing countries.

We know this keenly as South Africans because we have benefitted immensely from the IDRC’s assistance.  Prior to our first democratic elections in April 1994, the Centre played a critical role in helping the ANC and the Mass Democratic Movement to prepare for negotiations and it supported us generously in the process.  Given its foresight and confidence in the future, the IDRC was instrumental also in helping us prepare for the new phase of governance and transformation.  Currently, the Centre is working closely with our Government in a number of key areas, assisting us in implementing the Reconstruction and Development Programme.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish IDRC, its staff and partners throughout the world, continued success for the next 25 years and more. 

Our gratitude goes to the IDRC, the Government and the people of Canada for the assistance you rendered, and continue to render, South Africa and other developing countries.

I look forward to visiting Canada, and possibly, the IDRC offices in the new year.

Nelson Mandela
President: Republic of South Africa
18 October 1995​