Death of Nelson Mandela: CERN and its Staff Association in history

Shortly after the conviction of Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia trial in 1964, the Anti-Apartheid Movement of Geneva was created at a meeting at CERN.

Arriving at CERN as Visiting Scientist in June 1966, I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement immediately. We multiplied the initiatives at CERN and outside of CERN until the release of Mandela with citizens of Geneva, but also with "citizens of the world", who ignored the ban on political activity, particularly for international civil servants.

The Anti-Apartheid Movement of Geneva soon became the Anti-Apartheid Movement of Switzerland. It was also the first Anti-Apartheid Movement outside of South Africa. CERN today is honoured to have brought it to the baptismal font thanks to the initiative of several colleagues, including Mike Pentz, president of the CERN staff Association for two years (1961  1963) and also a refugee from South Africa in Europe.

Conclusion: well-targeted disobedience can advance humanity.
Jean-Pierre Lagnaux, former visiting physicist at CERN.


by Staff Association