Mandela's widow urges us to understand what drives others and accept that everyone's view is valid
Dubai-UAE: 14 February 2018 – Respect, recognition of human dignity and willingness to understand the views of others are essential life skills, said Graça Machel (HonFBA), humanitarian, Chair of The Graça Machel Trust and widow of former South African President, at a talk titled ‘The Mandela I Knew” at the sixth World Government Summit (WGS 2018).
“Nelson Mandela had the ability to connect with people, even when it seemed to be in an intractable situation, and to recognize the dignity in every single person. He had great strength, ability and determination to reach people and to understand what drives them. For him, it was a necessity to understand others. You cannot build bridges successfully without the understanding and recognition that there is no one ‘right' view.”
When asked about what she sees to be Mandela's legacy, Machel said: “In times of conflict we forget that there's a human life on the other side. This understanding enabled Mandela to transcend the different social, political and tribal differences across South Africa. In our current times, with the world divided by war, we should learn from his commitment of reaching the human being behind the cause.
“We have to try to understand what is driving those who want conflict, and those who are fueling conflict - who are often the more dangerous. In negotiations, one must recognize that there is no one single truth and one must have the ability and willingness to understand the views of others.”
Graça Machel, an African icon in her own right, has championed the cause of peace and is a passionate advocate for the rights of women and children. In a question on what the key focus of her work is, she said: “We are not doing enough to give women opportunities to use their creativity and ability as entrepreneurs to earn income and become financially independent. We have established a platform to bring together different networks of women. But we need to change the mindset of who is who within society. We need to redesign the space, position and rights of every one of us. There is no second class of human beings. We are all people. And we are all equal.”
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organizations.
Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features six distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialized global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit are being launched during the event.