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Policy Matters: Makaziwe Mandela And Khalil Osiris On Nelson Mandela's Legacy

Jessica Palombo
Rick Mullaney talks with Makaziwe Mandela at WJCT Studios.

This episode of Policy Matters is a conversation with Makaziwe Mandela, the eldest daughter of Nelson Mandela, and Khalil Osiris, a board member of the Nelson Mandela Family Foundation and the CEO of Reflecting Freedom.

Jacksonville University on Thursday will award its 2019 Presidential Global Citizen Award to global human rights activist Mandela, who has continued her father’s work on inclusion and equality and is in Jacksonville to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18, which would be his 101st birthday.

“We are honored to celebrate Dr. Makaziwe Mandela’s global activism at a time when the world needs people who act with positive intent, who are willing to work together, and who can find creative solutions to our most pressing problems,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost in a statement emailed to WJCT News. “Dr. Mandela is a passionate advocate for ending global poverty, and she reminds us of the power of fully engaging on issues that matter.”

The Jacksonville University Presidential Global Citizen Award is presented to an extraordinary, visionary leader whose impact is felt well beyond the bounds of their recognized responsibilities. Previous award recipients are former PepsiCo chairwoman, president and CEO Indra Nooyi and filmmaker and historian Ken Burns.

Mandela has held senior positions at the at the University of the Witwatersrand, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and the Industrial Development Group in South Africa. She is the co-founder and chair of House of Mandela, an organization that continues Nelson Mandela’s work toward unity and compassion across global races, religions, and genders.

From Policy Matters: “I hope that people of Jacksonville and people around the world realize that unity is at the core of us creating a better world. Yes, one person, like my father, can be the torch bearer, can show the way. But we also have to support and be torch bearers, we have to build together,” Mandela told Rick Mullaney. “Yes, the differences are important. Diversity is important in this world. But we can't always be enhancing and emphasizing differences. We have to look at the good in the differences and the diversity that we can harness and create a better future for all.”

Credit Jessica Palombo / WJCT News
Khalil Osiris (right) speaks with Rick Mullaney.

And Khalil Osiris is an international speaker on restorative justice, an author and activist, who spent 20 years of his life in prison. While there, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University.

From Policy Matters: “I saw in Nelson Mandela an example of what was possible for someone at the bottom of life in a prison cell, to literally impact the world in ways that were positive, in ways that reflected the best of our humanity. And I was deeply, deeply moved by his own example and the narrative of his story,” Osiris said.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP