RIP: Nelson Mandela


By Tracy Connor, Staff Writer, NBC News

Nelson Mandela, the revered South African anti-apartheid icon who spent 27 years in prison, led his country to democracy and became its first black president, died Thursday at home. He was 95.

“He is now resting,” said South African President Jacob Zuma. “He is now at peace.”

“Our nation has lost his greatest son,” he continued. “Our people have lost their father.”

A state funeral will be held, and Zuma called for mourners to conduct themselves with “the dignity and respect” that Mandela personified.

“Wherever we are in the country, wherever we are in the world, let us reaffirm his vision of a society… in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another,” he said as tributes began pouring in from across the world.

Though he was in power for only five years, Mandela was a figure of enormous moral influence the world over – a symbol of revolution, resistance and triumph over racial segregation.

He inspired a generation of activists, left celebrities and world leaders star-struck, won the Nobel Peace Prize and raised millions for humanitarian causes.

South Africa is still bedeviled by challenges, from class inequality to political corruption to AIDS. And with Mandela’s death, it has lost a beacon of optimism.

In his jailhouse memoirs, Mandela wrote that even after spending so many years in a Spartan cell on Robben Island – with one visitor a year and one letter every six months – he still had faith in human nature.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion,” he wrote in “Long Walk to Freedom.”

“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Mandela retired from public life in 2004 with the half-joking directive, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you,” and had largely stepped out of the spotlight, spending much of his time with family in his childhood village.

His health had been fragile in recent years. He had spent almost three months in a hospital in Pretoria after being admitted in June for a recurring lung infection. He was released on Sept. 1.

In his later years, Mandela was known to his countrymen simply as Madiba, the name of his tribe and a mark of great honor. But when he was born on July 18, 1918, he was named Rolihlahla, which translated roughly – and prophetically – to “troublemaker.”

Mandela was nine when his father died, and he was sent from his rural village to the provincial capital to be raised by a fellow chief. The first member of his family to get a formal education, he went to boarding school and then enrolled in South Africa’s elite Fort Hare University, where his activism unfurled with a student boycott.

As a young law scholar, he joined the resurgent African National Congress just a few years before the National Party – controlled by the Afrikaners, the descendants of Dutch and French settlers – came to power on a platform of apartheid, in which the government enforced racial segregation and stripped non-whites of economic and political power.

As an ANC leader, Mandela advocated peaceful resistance against government discrimination and oppression – until 1961, when he launched a military wing called Spear of the Nation and a campaign of sabotage.

The next year, he was arrested and soon hit with treason charges. At the opening of his trial in 1964, he said his adoption of armed struggle was a last resort born of bloody crackdowns by the government.

“Fifty years of non-violence had brought the African people nothing but more and more repressive legislation and fewer and few rights,” he said from the dock.

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

He was sentenced to life in prison and sent to Robben Island. As inmate No. 466/64, he slept on the floor of a six-foot-wide cell, did hard labor in a quarry, organized fellow prisoners – and earned a law degree by correspondence.

As the years passed, his incarceration drew ever more attention, with intensifying cries for his release as a global anti-apartheid movement gained traction. Songs were dedicated to him and 600 million people watched the Free Mandela concert at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1988.

In 1985, he turned down the government’s offer to free him if he renounced armed struggle against apartheid. It wasn’t until South African President P.W. Botha had a stroke and was replaced by F.W. de Klerk in 1989 that the stage was set for his release.

After a ban on the ANC was repealed, a whiter-haired Mandela walked out prison before a jubilant crowd and told a rally in Cape Town that the fight was far from over.

“Our struggle has reached a decisive moment,” he said. “We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait.”

Over the next two years, Mandela proved himself a formidable negotiator as he pushed South Africa toward its first multiracial elections amid tension and violence. He and de Klerk were honored with the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.

When the elections were held in April 1994, the ex-prisoner became the next president and embarked on a mission of racial reconciliation, government rebuilding and economic rehabilitation.

A year into his tenure, with racial tensions threatening to explode into civil war, Mandela orchestrated an iconic, unifying moment: He donned the green jersey of the Springboks rugby team – beloved by whites, despised by blacks – to present the World Cup trophy to the team captain while the stunned crowd erupted in cheers of “Nelson! Nelson!”

He chose to serve only one five-year term – during which he divorced his second wife, Winnie, a controversial activist, and married his third, Graca, the widow of the late president of Mozambique.

After leaving politics, he concentrated on his philanthropic foundation. He began speaking out on AIDS, which had ravaged his country and which some critics said he had not made a priority as president.

When he officially announced he was leaving public life in 2004, it signaled he was slowing down, but he still made his presence known. For his 89th birthday, he launched a “council of elders,” statesmen and women from around the world who would promote peace. For his 90th, he celebrated at a star-studded concert in London’s Hyde Park.

As he noted in 2003, “If there is anything that would kill me it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what to do.”

In April, de Klerk was asked on the BBC if he feared that Mandela’s eventual death would expose fissures in South Africa that his grandfatherly presence had kept knitted together.

De Klerk said that Madiba would be just as unifying a force in death.

“When Mandela goes, it will be a moment when all South Africans put away their political differences, take hands, and will together honor maybe the biggest South African that has ever lived,” he said.

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A Message From The Creator

Changing the world begins
with the very personal process of changing yourself,
the only place you can begin is where you are,
and the only time you can begin is always now.

-Gary Zukav

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Dilma Rousseff

One woman who gets the honor of being one of the first female leaders in the male-dominated politic world is Dilma Rousseff. She is now the 36th president of Brazil and the first woman to hold that position in Brazil. Before she recorded her name as the first woman president in Brazil, she also became the first woman Chief of Staff to the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2005.

Dilma Vana Rousseff was born on December 14, 1947 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She is a daughter of a Bulgarian entrepreneur, Pedro Rousseff, and grew in an upper middle class family. She went into an elite boarding school run by nuns with French-speaking teachers as her primary education.

She was active in politic since her youth when she attended the Central State High School and became a socialist which turned her to join the coup d’etat against the military dictatorship in 1964. For that, she was captured and jailed from 1970 to 1972. During her guerilla activity in 1964 to 1970, none of her parents knew what she was doing while she was still attending the Minas Gerais Federal University School of Economics.

After her release in 1978, she took a break for awhile and enrolled at the Campinas State University for a master’s degree in Economics. She later continued her politic career and elected as Minister of Energy in 2003. She then assumed office as the Chief of Staff of Brazil in 2005 and finally took office as the president of Brazil in 2011.

Dilma Rousseff was married to Claudio Galeno Linhares in 1968, a fellow activist whom she met in COLINA. Due to the difficult situation they had to face after their marriage, a breakup in inevitable. She then married Carlos Franklin Paixao de Araujo in 1969 and divorced him in 2000. Together they have a daughter named Paula. Dilma Rousseff biography.

Dilma Rousseff biography Summary :

Now 36th President of Brazil

Incumbent Assumed office : 1 January 2011 
Vice President Michel Temer
Preceded by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Chief of Staff of Brazil
In office : 21 June 2005 – 31 March 2010
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Preceded by José Dirceu
Succeeded by Erenice Guerra

Minister of Mines and Energy
In office : 1 January 2003 – 21 June 2005
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Preceded by Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide
Succeeded by Silas Rondeau

Dilma Rousseff Personal details :

  • Born  : 14 December 1947 (age 64) Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • Political party : Workers’ Party
  • Spouse(s) : Cláudio Galeno Linhares (1967–1969),
    Carlos Franklin Paixão de Araújo (1969–2000)
  • Children : Paula
  • Residence  : Alvorada Palace
  • Alma mater : Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Local Inspiration: Changing the Face of Science at the MSI

Today’s Chicago Women

By Margaret Sutherlin

Three women making a difference at the Museum of Science and Industry

When Olivia Castellini, a senior exhibit developer at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), met with a group of Chicago Public School students who were recruited to to give their feedback on a new museum exhibit, she asked what they thought it meant to “do” science and to draw what a scientist looked like.

What she got were a dozen renderings of Einstein, complete with glasses, crazy hair and beakers. Talk about a frustrating disconnect for a young woman who has her Ph.D in physics.

“There’s this misperception about science – that it’s done alone in a lab, by special people with special training,” says Dr. Castellini. “It became important to us that scientists be portrayed as a diverse group, working collaboratively in all kinds of settings. People totally miss that part because it’s often presented as boring, dry and in a textbook.”

At MSI, the issue of science education and engagement was at the forefront of the recent redesign of the brand and mission. Leading many of the new exhibits and educational programs are Olivia Castellini, Rabiah Mayas and Patricia Ward, three Ph.D-level scientists, determined to show that science is fun, inspired and accessible for all, particularly young girls and minorities.

Seeking STEM
Research consistently shows that the U.S. is falling behind in math and science education compared to other developed countries: we rank 27 out of 29. Just last month, The White House called on women to seek out science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, as women only represent about a quarter of the entire STEM workforce.

At a time when science and math education are becoming critical factors in keeping the U.S. competitive against other economies, educators, policy makers and scientists are trying to figure out how to engage young people. But when so many children lose interest in science, have the misconstrued notion of what science is – and given that girls and young women are often discouraged from pursuing STEM careers for a variety of reasons – it can be an uphill battle.

The science isn’t hidden at MSI, but told through stories that are more about inspiring kids to be curious and actively participate. Whether it’s the 13-foot virtual beating heart in You! The Experience or the 40-foot tornado in Science Storms, the enthusiasm from younger visitors is palpable in the exhibits and Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE) classrooms. And the museum wants to harness that enthusiasm in order to get children committed to and excited about science and math.

“We didn’t want [You! The Experience] to be Health 101 or Biology 101, because people can find that everywhere. We instead wanted a more holistic, integrated experience,” explains Dr. Ward, MSI’s director of Science and Technology.

Another innovative decision the exhibitions took to reach new audiences, especially girls, was to prove the point that science is something anyone can do. Exhibits are now carefully designed to allow visitors to actually participate in an experiment, and educational programs in the redesigned CASE allow students to do and build whatever science projects they can envision.

As the powerhouse behind the Museum’s educational programs for students, visitors and area teachers, CASE helps to foster children’s continued interest in the sciences by providing additional resources, with the goal of helping to keep kids engaged with science and STEM careers. From the internationally connected Fabrication Lab where kids learn to make literally anything, to programs for teachers that can also help them earn a Master’s in Science Education, CASE focuses on getting the extensive knowledge base and resources available at the museum into the hands of curious students and visitors.

“We wanted to get away from this antiquated mode of ‘wait and see what happens.’ It’s so important for a topic like physics, where there is just a stigma to it,” says Dr. Castellini, who led the content and interactive development team for Science Storms, which addresses chemistry and physics. “People just don’t see themselves as capable of doing this, and then they do, and realize it’s really cool…Our first driver is to make them feel that sense of awe to draw them in to try and figure it out.”

Beyond Einstein
Even more important than labeling science as accessible for anyone was the conscious decision to put a diverse face on the field.

“It’s important that people can identify with scientists. For women, it’s changed over time, but the accessibility isn’t the same as it is for men,” says Dr. Mayas, who works directly with children as director of Science and Integrated Strategies for CASE. “The leading researchers on TV or the cover of Wired credited with phenomenal discoveries are not women as often as they are men. What I find so dangerous about the [Einstein image] is that it’s equating science and scientists with an older, Caucasian man in a lab coat. That is stereotype upon stereotype, and doesn’t account for gender, ethnic and racial diversity within the scientific community, as well as professional diversity within the community. The extent to which we can promote different career opportunities and options, the more people will see themselves as future scientists and be able to identify with those paths.”

All three scientists can speak from personal experience about the impact of strong female role models in science. For Dr. Castellini, it was her Ph.D professor; for Dr. Ward, an enthusiastic high school biology teacher; and for Dr. Mayas, a leading professor in a lab where she worked one summer. They credit their continued interest in science with one very important image of a female scientist who mentored them and showed them that science is more than just sitting in a laboratory, and that their voices are critically important for the future of the field.

“Fifty percent of the brains in the world are women and we have a different perspective,” Dr. Ward says. “More and more science is moving in the direction of increasing collaboration around different disciplines. Science is big, big questions that are very complex and it requires participation of scientists with different kinds of specialties who are prepared and able and like to work collaboratively. That is a huge strength for women.”

As various fields in science collaborate to answer some of the most challenging questions of our lifetime, women’s perspectives and unique interpretations will be even more necessary to help address the big issues. The innovative programs and dedicated scientists of institutions like the Museum of Science and Industry will be even more important to ensure this perspective is fostered and valued in the community for years to come.

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Pregnant Drew Barrymore Shows Off Growing Bump in Clingy T-Shirt

Us Weekly



Drew Barrymore‘s ready for a bumpy summer!

On Saturday, the pregnant, just-married actress, 37, was snapped outside an L.A. nail salon; she showed off her ever-growing baby bump in a clingy black-shirt and matching black denim. The Big Miracle star kept it casual in bright-red sunglasses and flip flops.

Three weekends ago, Barrymore became a bride for the third time when she and Will Kopelman wed at her Montecito, Calif. estate in a bash attended by Cameron Diaz, pregnant Reese Witherspoon and her husband Jim Toth, Busy Phillips, Jimmy Fallon and his wife Nancy Juvonen.

With his expectant wife chilling out at home this weekend, art consultant Kopelman, 34, got nuptial again — serving as one of the groomsmen at the Englewood, NJ wedding of Hollywood producer Kevin Turen and model Evelina Oboza. Other stars at the NJ fete included Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Andrew Garfield and Zac Efron.

After their own wedding — the bride wore custom Chanel — Barrymore and Kopelman headed for a quick honeymoon at a resort in Big Sur, Calif. After that getaway, she and Kopelman were spotted shopping for baby clothes in Santa Barbara.

“She was just enjoying browsing with her new husband,” said an observer. “They didn’t say much to each other, but they were holding hands and pointing things out that they thought were cute.”

Women In The News: Can Women ‘Have It All’? Let’s Talk

The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Elite Women Put New Spin on Old Debate” (front page, June 22), about the discussion stirred by Anne-Marie Slaughter’s magazine article:

For working mothers to succeed, workplaces and career trajectories need to be overhauled to reflect the realities of parents’ lives. In our study of 240 parents with professional careers, most felt overwhelmed by the conflicting demands of raising children and career but desired to do both well. When one had to give, mothers were not willing to sacrifice family.

Climbing professional ladders is front-loaded in years that coincide with fertility and child-rearing; clashes between family and career needs are inevitable. Workplace changes — on-site child care, flexibility and paid parental leaves — would be a start. Envisioning careers over longer time lines with more varied trajectories, not simply success in the early years, is another.

These changes will be hard to accomplish until society recognizes the value of raising children and respects what science shows and parents know: children need available, emotionally responsive parental care. Such care takes not only time and physical presence but also effort and energy.

New York, June 23, 2012

The writer is the director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and principal investigator of the Parenting Young Children Study.

To the Editor:

In 2004, my girlfriends and I drove five hours to watch Anne-Marie Slaughter challenge Justice Antonin Scalia on the merits of international law. She posed for a picture with us, four young women enamored of her wit and ability. She was everything I wanted to be, and I followed in her footsteps to law school.

Years later, I saw her speak again. After a laudatory introduction, she blushed and said her greatest achievement was raising children.

At 25, I was stunned. How could she compare the ordinary work of motherhood to her accomplishments as a political theorist?

Recently, I declined my dream job as a civil rights lawyer for a less stressful position with reasonable hours and maternity leave. Again, I look to Ms. Slaughter. At 31, I finally hear what she has been saying all along: professional women need not carry the responsibilities and joys of motherhood in shame.

Hoboken, N.J., June 23, 2012

To the Editor:

The Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s videotaped talks challenging young women to take their futures in their own hands are not a reproach but a call to cognizance for our generation. Ms. Sandberg has highlighted the personal challenges that many women — herself included — encounter when balancing career and family.

She does not minimize the presence of these challenges, but encourages women to acknowledge these obstacles and to be proactive in overcoming their effect on the status of women today.

Her words are honest and motivational, and inspire many young women to embrace their full potential.

There is also an element of time and place that is essential to the discussion of this important topic. As young women, my peers and I understand the compromises we will likely endure as we venture through our adult lives. We discuss these truths with our mothers, mentors and friends.

At moments set aside for turning tassels and celebrating successes, however, we must not be invited to discount our greatest hopes or to abandon our wildest dreams. If we are left to imagine personal futures that are less full or less vibrant than our aspirations dictate, nothing will ever change.

Brooklyn, June 23, 2012

To the Editor:

In listening to the arguments about what women must sacrifice to have a career, I think it is wise to remember that men should also strive to have a balance among family, personal life and career.

I have often heard speakers at conferences thank their families for sacrificing time with Daddy so that he can go off on the lecture circuit. I would much rather apologize to my audiences for not giving more lectures so that I can spend time with my family and friends.

New York, June 22, 2012

The writer is a clinical associate professor at the New York University College of Dentistry.

To the Editor:

Many women can and do “have it all.” They just can’t necessarily have it all at once.

San Francisco, June 22, 2012

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