World Economic Forum founder and head Klaus Schwab pays tribute to Nelson Mandela at the 2013 WEF meeting in Davos, a month after the statesman’s death. (Image: WEF)
Compiled by Mary Alexander
South African statesman Nelson Mandela, who died in December 2013, attended the World Economic Forum‘s annual meeting in Davos three times. The first was in 1991, less than a year after he was released from 27 years in jail, the second in 1992, two years before he became South Africa’s first democratic president, and the third in 1999, the final year of his presidency.
The World Economic Forum has unearthed historic photographs of two of Mandela’s Davos visits, in 1992 and 1999.
All photos copyright the World Economic Forum. Click for a larger view.
From right, Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chair of the World Economic Forum, Nelson Mandela, and FW de Klerk, then president of apartheid South Africa, on a panel at the World Economic Forum’s 1992 annual meeting in Davos. They are listening to a speech by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, then chief minister of the quasi-independent “homeland” of KwaZulu, shown on the screen behind them.
Past and future presidents: FW de Klerk shakes hands with Nelson Mandela at Davos in 1992. De Klerk was the last president of South Africa elected by a whites-only franchise, while two years later, in 1994, Mandela would become South Africa’s first president elected by an inclusive democratic vote.
Klaus Schwab and Nelson Mandela shake hands in Davos in 1992, with Schwab’s wife Hilde Schwab in the background. “Of all the many leaders I have met in the course of my life, none made a deeper impression on me than Nelson Mandela,” Schwab wrote in a tribute to Mandela after the former president’s death in 2013. “His courage, compassion, humility and wisdom were without parallel on the world stage, and he himself was an enduring source of inspiration.”
Mandela and Schwab in 1992. “While he is rightly revered as a hero in the struggle for race freedom, he also deserves recognition as a champion of economic freedom who set his country and continent on the path to growth,” Schwab said in his tribute.
Watch Nelson Mandela address delegates at Davos in 1999.
World Economic Forum head Klaus Schwab presents Nelson Mandela with a gift at Davos in 1999. “Complacency was never a part of Mr Mandela’s character,” Schwab wrote after Mandela’s death. “He was always keenly aware of the formidable challenges in creating a dynamic and sustainable economy on the fractured bedrock of South Africa’s past.”
Nelson Mandela addresses delegates to the World Economic Forum at Davos in 1999, the final year of his presidency. “We know that this goodwill arises from the desire of good men and women everywhere that South Africa should succeed in reconciling our people, and that we should lay the scourge of racism to rest,” he said. “This requires strong democratic institutions and a culture of compassion. None of this is possible without a strong economy.” Watch the video, and read the transcript.
Mandela speaks at Davos in 1999. “The challenges we face combine many of the great challenges that face our global society. We need social stability that is based on socioeconomic development. We must nurture tolerance, collective wisdom and democracy. Like all countries, we must provide real personal safety and security against criminality and abuse of human rights.” Watch the video, and read the transcript.