By Mario Trujillo - 12/06/13 01:05 PM EST
Hillary Clinton mourned the loss of Nelson Mandela as “a giant among us” while accepting a human rights award in Washington on Friday.
Clinton said she had always admired the contradictions Mandela lived as a prisoner who became South Africa’s first black president.
“I was always struck by the extraordinary depth of his self knowledge, of his awareness of how hard it is to live a life of integrity, of service, but to combine within one’s self the contradictions that he lived with — a lawyer and a freedom fighter, a prisoner and a leader, a man of anger and forgiveness — has so captured the hearts of people not only in his own country but as we are seeing with the outpouring of response to his death around the world,” she said.
Mandela died Thursday night at the age of 95.
Clinton made the remarks in Washington while receiving the Lantos Prize for her work to promote human rights. According to the Lantos Foundation, the prize is given to people who promote “the values of decency, dignity, freedom and justice” in the world.
“It is quite humbling for people like Madeleine Albright, my dear friend, and I to know that secretaries of State come and go but what remains is that profound commitment to making a difference in whatever position we find ourselves,” she said.