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Weekly Wrap Up: “A Time to Celebrate a Heroic Life”

Weekly Wrap Up: Remembering Nelson Mandela, “Program It,” Talking Immigration, Kennedy Center Honors Reception, Message to the People of the Central African Republic and White House Gingerbread House.

Remembering Nelson Mandela: On Monday, the President and First Lady departed for South Africa to attend the national memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela. The next day they joined tens of thousands of mourners at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium to say farewell to the man also known as Madiba. The President spoke at the memorial service, reflecting on what Mandela meant to him personally and to the people of South Africa.

For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe, Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate a heroic life. But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for self-reflection. With honesty, regardless of our station or our circumstance, we must ask: How well have I applied his lessons in my own life? It’s a question I ask myself, as a man and as a President. 

Read his full remarks here and catch up on the last time the Mandela family was at the White House

“Program It”: This week was Computer Science Education Week, or CSEdWeek, an annual campaign that highlights the importance of learning computer science. The President recorded a message in support of CSEdWeek, encouraging young people to learn computer science. “Don’t just buy a new video game, make one,” he said. “Don’t just download the latest app, help design it. Don’t just play on your phone, program it.” You can take part in CSEdWeek activities by going to  

Talking Immigration: On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden and Cecilia Munoz, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor Council took part in a live Skype video call where they answered questions on immigration submitted via Skype and on Twitter. Watch video from the call here

Kennedy Center Honors Reception: The President and First Lady hosted this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees on Sunday. Five people were awarded this honor for their lifetime contributions to entertainment. “Each of our brilliant honorees has given us something unique and enriched us beyond measure, as individuals and as a nation. Together they bring us closer to President Kennedy’s vision of the arts as a great humanizing and truth-telling experience.” Read his full remarks here

Message to the People of the Central African Republic: President Obama recorded an audio message to the people of the Central African Republic, after government affiliated armed groups and independent militias have committed atrocities against innocent civilians. “The awful violence of recent days threatens the country you love,” the President said.

Innocent men, women and children have been killed. Families have fled their homes. And we know from the bitter experience of other countries what happens when societies descend into violence and retribution. Today, my message to you is simple: it doesn’t have to be this way. You—the proud citizens of the Central African Republic—have the power to choose a different path.

The President stated that the people of the Central African Republic should reject the violence and move towards a more peaceful future. 

White House Gingerbread House: Ever wanted to see how a 300-pound, edible White House replica is made? Check out this post and video that shows how the gingerbread house and life-size hearth from 1,2000 Springerle cookies came together.