De Klerk, South Africa's last president under apartheid, will speak on Wednesday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m., in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House. The talk is free and open to the public.
The college also will provide shuttle bus service from parking lots in the village of Clinton, and Mr. de Klerk's talk will be interpreted for the deaf and hearing impaired. For further information, contact the Hamilton Office of Student Activities at (315) 859-4194.
De Klerk, along with Nelson Mandela,played a major role in initiating the reforms that marked the end of apartheid and white minority rule in South Africa. Soon after becoming president in 1989, de Klerk lifted a 30-year ban on the African National Congress (ANC), released ANC leader Nelson Mandela from prison, abolished the principal laws of apartheid and instituted constitutional reform. De Klerk also began laying the groundwork for South Africa's first ever multiracial elections which were held in 1994. In recognition of their roles in the democratization of South Africa, de Klerk and Mandela were co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
In 1994, de Klerk was sworn in as a deputy president under Mandela in a coalition government that was created to ensure a smooth transition to democracy. He resigned from his post as deputy president in 1996 and retired from active politics a year later. De Klerk now spends most of his time lecturing throughout the world and working on his autobiography.
F.W. de Klerk will be the fourth person to appear as part of Hamilton's Great Names Series. His talk follows presentations by fellow Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, political strategists Mary Matalin and James Carville and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, who delivered the inaugural address in April 1996. Best-selling author Maya Angelou was scheduled to be last fall's Great Names speaker, however, her speech was canceled due to illness.