Graça Marcel – WOMAN of ACTION™

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A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this nominated powerhouse, a woman that lead the charge in both Mozambique widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel and as third wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, always supporting as advocate for issues of women and children.

Through her own scholarship program for girls and women’s education, this woman believes that an open and just society free from discrimination is best achieved through education and through the defence and promotion of human and constitutional rights.

 
 
 

 
 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 

Graca Machel

 

Graça Marcel

Former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique, advocate for women’s and children’s rights… WOW!

 
 
 

 

Graça Machel DBE (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈgɾasɐ mɐˈʃɛɫ], born Graça Simbine pronounced: [sĩˈbĩni], 17 October 1945) is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian. She is the third wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela and the widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel. She is an international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and in 1997 was made a British dame for her humanitarian work.

Map_of_Gaza_Province,_MozambiqueBorn in rural Incadine, Gaza Province, Portuguese East Africa, she attended Methodist mission schools before gaining a scholarship to the University of Lisbon in Portugal, where she studied German and first became involved in independence issues.

She is also fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English, as well as her native Tsonga. She returned to Portuguese East Africa in 1973, joined the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo) and became a schoolteacher.

Following Mozambique’s independence in 1975, Machel was appointed Minister for Education and Culture. She married Samora Machel the same year. Following her retirement from the Mozambique ministry, Machel was appointed as the expert in charge of producing the groundbreaking United Nations report on the impact of armed conflict on children. Her first husband died in a plane crash over South Africa in 1986.

Graça Machel is the ‘only woman in the world‘ to have been First Lady of two different countries, serving as the First Lady of Mozambique from 1975 to 1986 and the First Lady of South Africa from 1998 to 1999.

Graça Machel is a renowned international advocate for women’s and children’s rights, and has been a social and political activist for decades.

Graca future of Africa summary2Women leaders meeting with Graça Machel, Founder and President, Foundation for Community Development (FDC),Mozambique; Co-Chair, Global Agenda Council on the Future of Africa

More than 900 business, government and civil society leaders from 50 countries met in Cape Town for the 19th World Economic Forum on Africa. Despite the fallout from the financial crisis, participants were generally optimistic and upbeat about the continent’s prospects going forward.

During last year’s meeting, the dark clouds of the financial crisis were gathering on the horizon. The ensuing global meltdown was foreshadowed by skyrocketing food and energy prices, the former injuring African countries; the latter benefiting only a few. However, on average, most African countries were less affected by the global recession than most countries in other regions due to the continent’s isolated position in the world financial system.

However, Africans faced mounting pressure when the impacts rolled over the real economy. Resource-rich African countries such as Nigeria really felt the pinch. The continent is weathering falling global commodity prices and significant reductions in aid and remittances, which together comprise as much as 30% of GDP in some countries. Galloping economic growth of 5.9% GDP annually on the continent between 2001 and 2008 has decelerated considerably. The International Monetary Fund is projecting a decline in GDP growth for the region to 2% in 2009 and 3.9% in 2010. Not a bad showing compared to other economies, according to many participants.READ MORE

She is President of the Foundation for Community Development (FDC), a not-for-profit Mozambican organization she founded in 1994. The FDC makes grants to civil society organizations to strengthen communities, facilitate social and economic justice, and assist in the reconstruction and development of post-war Mozambique.

In 1994, the UN Secretary-General appointed Machel as an independent expert to carry out an assessment of the impact of armed conflict on children.

Machel was a delegate to the 1998 UNICEF conference in Zimbabwe, is President of Mozambique’s National Commission of UNESCO, and served on the international steering committee of the 1990 World Conference on Education for All.

Machel was the recipient of InterAction’s humanitarian award for 1997, and received a major award from CARE as a result of her long-standing work on behalf of children, among many other awards.

Machel has served on the boards of numerous international organizations, including the UN Foundation, the Forum of African Women Educationalists, the African Leadership Forum, and the International Crisis Group. Among many other commitments, she is Chair of the Fund Board for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and Peer of the African Peer Review Mechanism.

As Minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique (1975-1989) she oversaw an increase in primary school enrolment from 40 per cent of children in 1975 to over 90 per cent of boys and 75 per cent of girls by 1989.

nansen-refugee-award-medalMachel received the 1995 Nansen Medal from the United Nations in recognition of her longstanding humanitarian work, particularly on behalf of refugee children.

She married South African President Nelson Mandela on 18 July 1998, his 80th birthday.

In 1998, she was one of the two winners of the North-South Prize.

Machel currently serves as the chair of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) Eminent Advisory Board.

On 18 July 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and Desmond Tutu convened The Elders, a group of world leaders to contribute their wisdom, leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. Mandela announced its formation in a speech on his 89th birthday.

Kofi Annan serves as Chair of The Elders and Gro Harlem Brundtland as Deputy Chair. The other members of the group are Martti Ahtisaari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel and Mary Robinson. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are Honorary Elders.

The Elders work globally, on thematic as well as geographically specific subjects. The Elders’ priority issue areas include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Korean Peninsula, Sudan and South Sudan, sustainable development, and equality for girls and women.

Graca-Machel-300x234Graca Machel served as Mozambique’s first post-independence Minister for Education and within 10 years, school enrollment doubled to over 80% of school-age children.

An international advocate for women’s and children’s rights. She is President of the Foundation of Community Development and Chairperson of the National Organization of Children of Mozambique.

It was in July 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa, that Nelson Mandela, his wife Graca Machel and Desmond Tutu first convened ‘The Elders’, a group of world leaders to contribute their wisdom, leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems.

 

“I think The Elders can play the role of amplifying the voices of the millions of citizens of the world who daily are working very hard to make themselves heard,” says Graca Machel.

 
Machel is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. Every year, the Panel releases a report, the Africa Progress Report that outlines an issue of immediate importance to the continent and suggests a set of associated policies.

In 2012, the Africa Progress Report highlighted issues of Jobs, Justice and Equity.

The 2013 report will outline issues to oil, gas, and mining in Africa.
 
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Graça Machel has been particularly involved in The Elders’ work on child marriage, including the founding of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

The Elders are independently funded by a group of donors: Sir Richard Branson and Jean Oelwang (Virgin Unite), Peter Gabriel (The Peter Gabriel Foundation), Kathy Bushkin Calvin (The United Nations Foundation), Jeremy Coller and Lulit Solomon (J Coller Foundation), Niclas Kjellström-Matseke (Swedish Postcode Lottery), Randy Newcomb and Pam Omidyar (Humanity United), Jeff Skoll and Sally Osberg (Skoll Foundation), Jovanka Porsche (HP Capital Partners), Julie Quadrio Curzio (Quadrio Curzio Family Trust), Amy Towers (The Nduna Foundation), Shannon Sedgwick Davis (The Bridgeway Foundation) and Marieke van Schaik (Dutch Postcode Lottery). Mabel van Oranje, former CEO of The Elders, sits on the Advisory Council in her capacity as Advisory Committee Chair of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

 

Graca Machel delivers the annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture


 
Machel is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. Every year, the Panel releases a report, the Africa Progress Report, that outlines an issue of immediate importance to the continent and suggests a set of associated policies. In 2012, the Africa Progress Report highlighted issues of Jobs, Justice, and Equity. The 2013 report will outline issues relating to oil, gas, and mining in Africa.
 

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Graça Machel Scholarships for Women

This scholarship is currently closed for applications.

It will open on 17 June 2013.

To apply, click here.

In partnership with the Graça Machel Trust, we award this scholarship on an annual basis.

Are you eligible?

To apply for a scholarship under this programme you must be:

Female
A national of and normally resident in one of the SADC countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
In possession of a good first degree (minimum second class, upper division or equivalent) or about to graduate in the year of application
Studying or applying to study at a South African university

 
The Graca Machel Scholarship Fund
 

What we offer

Full tuition, stipend, mentoring and other support for Honours, masters and PhD study at South African universities.

How to apply

The application process normally opens in June and closes in August, for study commencing in January the following year. When we are open applicants can access the application forms and guidelines on this webpage. Applicants must apply to their chosen universities separately and awards are conditional on the applicant being offered a place at the relevant university.

NB. When the application process is closed there will not be application forms available on our website. Please do not submit applications using old forms–these will not be processed.

This scholarship is generously funded by The Sol Plaatjie Trust, MacSteel International and others.

 
 

A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this wonderful woman leader, spirit guided powerhouse into our global Alumni with open arms, looking forward to trudging this road to happy destiny, together reaching for the tree top where ‘Equality of Women Among Women’ and universal gender equality thrives.

 

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Brava Graca!

 

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