The United Nations Celebrates Mandela Day

By | 14 July 2010

“We stand here today to salute the United Nations Organization and its Member States, both singly and collectively, for joining forces with the masses of our people in a common struggle that has brought about our emancipation and pushed back the frontiers of racism.”

South African President Nelson Mandela
Address to UN General Assembly
3 October 1994

Pretoria – In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world. It is the first time that the UN has dedicated an International Day to an individual.

The elimination of apartheid was on the agenda of the United Nations from its inception in 1945. In the decades that followed the world body would contribute to the global struggle against apartheid by drawing world attention to the inhumanity of the system, legitimizing popular resistance, promoting anti-apartheid actions by governmental and non-governmental organizations, instituting an arms embargo, and supporting an oil embargo and boycotts of apartheid in many fields.

UN offices around the world will organize events to celebrate the first “Nelson Mandela International Day” on 18 July 2010. On Friday 16 July, an informal plenary meeting of the General Assembly will be held from in the General Assembly Hall. The event will incorporate music, photos and video footage of Mandela.

In UN offices throughout the world, panel discussions on the legacy of Mandela and a screening of the film “INVICTUS” will be held. Other initiatives include an inter-community football tournament titled “Football for Peace” to be organized by the United Nations Mission in Darfur, Sudan in El-Fasher, Sudan, preceded by a musical concert with Sudanese musician, Omar Ilhsas. The winning team will be awarded the Nelson Mandela Peace Cup. The UN staff in South Africa will spend 67 minutes of their time at Tebogo Home, in Orange Farm. Staff members are also encouraged to personally get involved in activities related to the spirit of Mandela Day.

“Nelson Mandela is a living embodiment of the highest values of the United Nations. … He is an exemplary global citizen,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated.

For more information, contact:

Phumza Manqindi, Special Assistant to the Resident Coordinator
Mobile: +2776 027 9583

or Sudeshan Reddy, National Information Officer
Mobile: +27 (82) 563 5286 or Tel: +27 (0)12 354 8507

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