FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was in South Africa on 24 April to receive an honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. In a press conference, he said: "It is a great honour for me and the organisation I am presiding over."
The University, in its citation for honouring President Blatter, stated that "As FIFA's president, he is one of the most versatile and experienced exponents of international sports diplomacy and is totally committed to serving football, FIFA and the youth of the world." It was under Mr Blatter's leadership that a rotational system was introduced to ensure that each continent would have an opportunity to host the FIFA World Cup™. Asia hosted its first FIFA World Cup in 2002 in Korea and Japan, and South Africa will host Africa's first FIFA World Cup in 2010.
Mr Blatter was touched to be receiving his doctorate from the university named after Nelson Mandela because he feels they share similar philosophies of solidarity, unity through diversity and, most importantly, anti-racism.
His perceptions of South Africa were exceptionally positive. When asked what he thought of the country, the FIFA President said: "I have been given an honorary doctorate of Philosophy. I am a philosopher as well. Africa is my continent and, when I am in South Africa, I feel [I am] home."
Danny Jordaan, the CEO of the 2010 South African Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup™, also received his doctorate from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on 20 April. He was to receive another honorary doctorate from the University of South Africa on 25 April.