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May 24, 2000

Governor and First Lady Meet President Nelson Mandela
Illinois Trade Office Holds Official Ribbon Cutting at Ron Brown Center

JOHANNESBURG, S.A. -- Governor George H. Ryan and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today met Nelson Mandela at his home in Johannesburg during the Illinois Trade Mission to the Republic of South Africa.

President Mandela granted a meeting with the Governor and Mrs. Ryan, who were joined by Sen. Emil Jones, D-Chicago, his wife, Patricia Jones, Sen. James Clayborn, D-East St. Louis, and Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago. "There are moments in your life when you are able to touch history, and talking to the man who endured Apartheid, fought Apartheid and beat Apartheid, was one of those moments. It was truly an honor for all of us." Ryan said.

Mrs. Ryan presented President Mandela with a bust of Abraham Lincoln and commended him for his compassion and strength. "In Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, we are reminded daily that equality is a constant struggle. Yet, there are those who are willing to suffer the slings and the arrows of their fellow countrymen to save the lives of others. Nelson Mandela is that kind of man and it was a privilege to be able to shake his hand," Mrs. Ryan said.

The Governor also opened the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, in the Ronald Brown Commercial Service center in Johannesburg. Under the direction of Monica Faith Stewart, former state legislator, the trade office will work with the local and national businesses to establish a regional business and economic presence for the state.


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