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The Sullivan Foundation Celebrates President Zuma's Birthday

Lafayette A. Barnes | 4/21/2010, 10:06 a.m.
The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation honored His Excellency Jacob G. Zuma, President of the Republic...
Entertainer Stevie Wonder greets is Excellency Jacob G. Zuma, during Zuma's birthday celebration at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Southwest, Tue., April 13.Photo by Roy Lewis

The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation honored His Excellency Jacob G. Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC on April 13. Hope Masters the President and CEO and Ambassador Andy Young the Chairman, of the Foundation hosted the event to celebrate the South African President€s 68th birthday. Both President Zuma and His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan the Acting President of the Republic of Nigeria were at the celebration as they were in Washington to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit with President Obama and many other world leaders. Entertainment will be provided by Dennis Edwards and the world-renowned Temptations.

During the celebration honoring President Zuma, His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan described his South African counterpart as €an accomplished grassroots leader and wished him a happy birthday.€
Ambassador Young called President Zuma a visionary fighter and leader who will share world history. Michael Blake from the Executive Office of the President at the White House said that President Obama cares deeply about South Africa and announced the launch of U.S. €" S.A. Bilateral Strategic Dialogue a framework for several mutual development goals including education, food security, and health care. South African Presidentent Jacob G. Zuma (center) celebrates his 68th birthday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Southwest, Tue., April 13.Photo by Roy Lewis

Zuma said that of the many wishes he has for this birthday was to solidify educational opportunities for the children of South Africa and the rest of the world.

€My main birthday wish is that we achieve without delay, the goal of quality education for all the world's children. Education is the key to genuine freedom. We cannot do it alone. Let us commit ourselves tonight to draw on our shared achievements,€ Zuma said.

President Zuma was elected President on May 6, 2009 and assumed office in Pretoria on May 9, 2009. The President has received numerous awards, including the Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership in Washington in 1998 as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Fort Hare, University of Zululand, Medical University of Southern Africa and the University of the North. In 1998, he established the Jacob Zuma RDP Educational Trust Fund. To date, the Fund has educated more than 20,000 children from the primary school to university levels.

€Hosting this dinner is particularly poignant for me because of the role that my father played in bringing an end to apartheid in South Africa. The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation is proud to not only celebrate the President's 68th birthday, but also to recognize him for his efforts to improve the quality of life for all South Africans,€ said Masters.

President Zuma thanked the Sullivan Foundation for hosting the event and talked about the Jacob G. Zuma RDP Education Trust that aims to break the cycle of poverty in poor rural areas by providing greater access to educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. President Zuma has a real passion for education as he did not attend school during the Apartheid Era in South Africa.

Although President Zuma has overcome many obstacles in his country to become the head of state, he reiterated the importance of education and stated that €the disadvantage of not having an education is not being prepared to face life€s challenges.€

Please visit www.jacobzumatrust.org.za for more information about the Jacob G. Zuma RDP Education Trust.