Address by Nelson Mandela to United Nations (UN) Children's Forum

7 May 2002

My dear children

It is such a delight to be here with you.

It has been wonderful to hear about your discussions over the last two days and learn about the conclusions you have reached.

I am filled with pride to witness such commitment, such integrity, such thoughtfulness from all of you. Your vision, your imagination and your care are inspiring.

Very often, when we speak of leadership, people think of politicians, but leadership is much wider and deeper than that.

Today we have seen exemplary leadership in our young people. You have shown why each one of you is a leader in your own communities – indeed, a leader in our world.

This week almost 70 heads of state are gathered in New York to discuss how to create a better world for all children. We can succeed only if we all work together. And you must never forget that you are the reason why we are here this week. You are the focus of our attention and your aspirations and concerns must be the centre of all our actions.

You are our future. Thank you for your hard work; for your passion; for your enthusiasm. Most of all, thank you for giving us hope.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation