nelson mandela international day

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Every year on 18 July — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.

For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

how the day came about

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.

Images from 2018 Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations

Opening of Exhibit “Building on the Legacy of Nelson Mandela”

Jerry Matthews Matjila (left), Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa, attends the opening of the exhibit “Building on the Legacy of Nelson Mandela” in the Visitors Lobby at UN Headquarters.

The exhibit, organized by the UN Department of Public Information with the support of the Permanent Mission of South Africa, highlights Nelson Mandela International Day and celebrates the centenary of his birth by featuring his contributions to the work of the United Nations in peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development. It also illustrates initiatives taken by the UN General Assembly in recognition of the South African leader’s legacy on conflict resolution, reconciliation, gender equality, the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, and the fight against poverty.

17 July 2018
United Nations, New York
Photo # 769830
UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Andries Carl Nel (at podium), Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of South Africa, makes remarks during the opening of the exhibit “Building on the Legacy of Nelson Mandela” in the Visitors Lobby at UN Headquarters. At left is Alison Smale, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.

17 July 2018
United Nations, New York
Photo # 769831
UN Photo/Loey Felipe

A close-up of a participant wearing a symbol representing the centenary of Nelson Mandel’s birth, during the opening of the exhibit “Building on the Legacy of Nelson Mandela”.

17 July 2018
United Nations, New York
Photo # 769834
UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, makes remarks during the annual observance of Nelson Mandela International Day. The 2018 observance marks 100 years since Mandela’s birth (18 July 1918).

18 July 2018
United Nations, New York
Photo # 769994
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Forest Whitaker (at podium and on screen), UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and SDG Global Advocate, makes remarks during the annual observance of Nelson Mandela International Day. The 2018 observance marks 100 years since Mandela’s birth (18 July 1918).

18 July 2018
United Nations, New York
Photo # 770001
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Secretary-General António Guterres (centre left) and Miroslav Lajčák (centre right), President of the seventy-second session of the General Assembly, unveil a new stamp on the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day, the 2018 observance of which marks 100 years since Mandela’s birth (18 July 1918). The stamp, released by the UN Postal Administration, pays tribute to the centenary of Mandela’s birth. Designed by Norwegian artist Martin Mörck and issued in Swiss francs, it features the Nelson Mandela quote (in French): “It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.”

Mr. Guterres and Mr. Lajčák are joined for the unveiling by (left to right): Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of the City of New York; Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa; Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and SDG Global Advocate; and Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management.

18 July 2018
United Nations, New York
Photo # 770003
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Miroslav Lajčák (left), President of the seventy-second session of the General Assembly, Penny Abeywardena (centre), Commissioner of the City of New York, and Andries Carl Nel, Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of South Africa, water plants at community garden Harlem Grown during a volunteer event organized in honour of Nelson Mandela International Day. The 2018 observance marks 100 years since Mandela’s birth (18 July 1918).

18 July 2018
New York City, United States
Photo # 770082
UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and SDG Global Advocate, makes remarks during the annual observance of Nelson Mandela International Day. The 2018 observance marks 100 years since Mandela’s birth (18 July 1918).

18 July 2018
United Nations, New York
Photo # 770004
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

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