Campus & Community

Radcliffe Institute To Host South African Leaders

3 min read

While South Africans around the world celebrate their country’s Human Rights Day on Tuesday, March 21, Sheila Sisulu, the South African Ambassador to the United States, will be at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study attending a lecture by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a former member of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

On the following morning, March 22, Ambassador Sisulu will participate in a symposium on human rights at Radcliffe with various scholars, professionals, and human rights experts. The symposium will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Cronkhite Graduate Center.

“We are honored to host such prominent South African leaders on Human Rights Day,” said Mary Maples Dunn, acting dean of the Radcliffe Institute. “The new Radcliffe Institute will have a strong commitment to exploring international issues. This important event is just the beginning.”

Gobodo-Madikizela, a former Bunting fellow at Radcliffe, will give her lecture on “Political Memory and the Politics of Memory,” in which she will examine the typically vast differences between official documentation of racial oppression and the specific accounts of individuals who lived through it. The lecture will take place in Agassiz Theatre at 8 p.m. on March 21.

During her two years of service on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Gobodo-Madikizela coordinated public hearings in which victims of human rights violations testified about specific incidents and spoke directly to their persecutors. As a clinical psychologist, she has maintained a focus on the psychological trauma associated with racial oppression.

In addition to Ambassador Sisulu, other panelists at the symposium will include Margaret Burnham, attorney and M.I.T. lecturer; Sindiwe Magona, author and poet; Rachel Rapperport, Boston architect and former Fulbright fellow; Victoria Sanford, peace fellow at Radcliffe’s Bunting Fellowship Program; and Valerie Nao Yoshimura, former president of the Japanese American Citizens League, Detroit.

The March 21 presentation is this year’s annual Rama Mehta lecture. The Rama Mehta Lectureship at the Radcliffe Institute was established by John Kenneth Galbraith and Catherine Atwater Galbraith in memory of Rama Mehta, who died in 1978. The purpose of the lectureship is to showcase a distinguished woman in the arts, public affairs, or sciences who has a deep understanding of the problems women face in developing countries.

This year’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government, and South Africa Partners Inc.

The lecture and human rights symposium are free and open to the public. For more information, call (617) 495-8607.