Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Jeria says she has put a proposal to her
government to avail 50 scholarships & bursary application, to students in South Africa and other African countries to pursue their master?s degrees at a top university in Chile.
Briefing journalists after delivering the Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Cape
Town, President Bachelet said the awarding of the scholarships would be done in
honour of the late President.
The President said Tata, who affectionately became known by his clan name
Madiba, was her role model growing up.
“[President] Nelson Mandela has been a leader who inspired me all of my life. So
for me, this is very special.
“But also, as I said in the lecture, he has taught us so much. I have learnt so
much from him.
“So that is why . in 2015, we are going to have 50 Nelson Mandela scholarships & bursary applications
. to go study at the University of Chile,’ she said.
She said that upon approval by the Chilean Congress, the scholarships would
fund deserving students who want to pursue master?s degrees in the fields of
farming, mining and astronomy, among others.
Her announcement comes after her meeting with President Jacob Zuma at the
Union Buildings on Friday, where the two identified sectors in their respective
economies to work together to boost economic growth.
Among several opportunities that the two Presidents identified as areas of
cooperation are energy, defence, science and technology, trade and investment,
mineral resources, social development and environmental issues.
Chile expressed interest in South Africa?s Energy Master Plan and the Square
Kilometre Array (SKA) project – the world?s largest radio telescope.
This is in light of South Africa and Chile being two leading countries in astronomy
Chile to build a Mandela memorial
President Bachelet said to further honour Tata Madiba, her country would build a
sculpture at a park in Santiago, the capital of Chile.
“.We will build a sculpture at a beautiful park in Santiago, where so many people
[walk by] so they can learn about Nelson Mandela and be inspired by him,’ she said.
She said she was honoured to have been invited to come to South Africa to
deliver the 12th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture.
The President said in turn, she had extended an invitation to the Nelson Mandela
Foundation to go to Chile for a South-South dialogue to share experiences on
challenges related to social cohesion, from inequalities to wide-ranging issues of
diversity – be it cultural or sexual diversity.
Delivering her lecture earlier, the President spoke of how Tata inspired not only
South Africans, but the rest of the world when he chose nation building through
reconciliation after spending many years in jail.
She said while social cohesion included dealing with poverty, cultural differences
and inequalities, she said the strongest weapon to forge national unity was through
the state holding extensive consultations with its people.
She said this included, among others, consulting people not only on
implementation of programmes, but also on the decisions that precede policy or
legislation changes or drafting.
The President also said that her government was currently consulting people on
creating a new ministry for indigenous groups to get their input on how they want
their country to be run in a bid to promote social cohesion.
She said President Mandela also told the world that education remained the most
crucial intervention for social cohesion.