South African Ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool giving his welcoming address

Washington, DC
June 26, 2012

On June 26th, the South Africa-Washington International Program (SAWIP), in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, hosted its inaugural Public Discussion Forum, focusing on critical topics under the over-arching theme of South Africa: Transforming Tomorrow.

This was followed by an evening invitational panel discussion on Nelson Mandela’s Life, Legacy, and Lessons for Future Leaders with esteemed guests: John Carlin (author, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation), Bill Keller (New York Times Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist), Richard Downes (Washington Correspondent, RTE), and SAWIP Leaders of 2011 and 2012.

SAWIP is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire, prepare and support the next generation of South Africa’s leaders. SAWIP awarded its first Ubuntu awards to Congressman Donald Payne (posthumously) and Senator Johnny Isakson to pay tribute to their embodiment of, and commitment to the values of Ubuntu and the development of SAWIP’s leaders.

Senator Johnny Isakson, recipient of the SAWIP Ubuntu Award

SAWIP was honored to host South African Ambassador to the US, Mr Ebrahim Rasool; South African Deputy Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, and Tom Fox (Chairman of ELMA Philanthropies)- among many distinguished leaders in business, government and civil society. A full list of the event’s panelists and speakers can be viewed here.

Panel discussions centered around:

  • The Current South African Landscape
  • The Power of “Ubuntu” in Social Networking
  • Nelson Mandela’s Life and Legacy

The full day of dialogue, debate and live social media coverage ended with South African wines and a jazz tribute to Miriam Makeba from local up-and-coming jazz musician, Akua Allrich.

A live webcast of the event can be found on the Wilson Center website. Live coverage of SAWIP events can be found via the official SAWIP Twitter feed, @SAWIPlive. For PR, journalism and media-related queries, please e-mail Dinika Govender at