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Google grants $2.5 million to Nelson Mandela Foundation and Desmond Tutu Peace Center

March 8, 2011 |  2:54 pm

  Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu

Google said Tuesday that it is giving $2.5 million in the form of two equal grants to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Desmond Tutu Peace Center to preserve, and get online, thousands of pages of historical documents relating to South Africa's movement from apartheid to democracy.

Mandela "As one of the most influential leaders of our time, and the face of South Africa's incredible transition to democracy, Nelson Mandela's name is almost synonymous with efforts to create meaningful dialogue and promote social justice," wrote Google's Daniel Lederman and Julie Taylor in a blog post announcing the grants.

With that in mind, Google is giving a $1.25-million grant to the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory which will use the money to safely house and digitize thousands of archival documents, photographs and audio and video recordings documenting Mandela's life as an activist against apartheid, his time in prison during apartheid and his rise to the South African presidency after the end of apartheid, Lederman and Taylor wrote.

All the digitized materials will be made available online in the future, with the archives to include Mandela's correspondence with family, friends and fellow activists, as well as his prison diaries and notes produced as he took part in negotiations to end South African apartheid.

Tutu Google also granted $1.25 million to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town to preserve and digitize Archbishop Desmond Tutu's archive. Tutu also is known as a leader in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, rising to fame in the 1980s and winning the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.

Tutu was also the first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.

In the past, Google has also made donations and given grants to other groups looking to document and share historical materials online, such as support for Yad Vashem, an archive of Holocaust documents in Jeruselum, as well as support for art museums too.

Google also said on Tuesday that it had recently given out smaller grants to educational groups, including: $75,000 to South Africa's Tertiary Education and Research Network, known as TENET, for its work helping South African universities with Internet and information technology services; $500,000 to the Nigeria ICT Forum, which works to improve Internet access at schools in Nigeria; and $1,250,000 to the University of Oregon's Network Startup Resource Center, which is running projects to help multiple African countries get connected to the Internet.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

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Top photo: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, right, gives President Nelson Mandela the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission report in 1998 at the State Theater Building in Pretoria, South Africa. The report, of which Tutu was the chairman of, held former President P.W. Botha, Mandela's ex-wife and the ruling African National Congress accountable for gross violations of human rights. Credit: Peter Andrews/Reuters.

Midde and bottom photos: A document with Nelson Mandela's signature on it and a notebook of text written by Desmond Tutu. Credit: Google

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