Not many folk know that the impact of Nelson Mandela on humanity has been so profound, that the United Nations General Assembly declared Nelson Mandela’s Birthday, the 18th July, as an official Nelson Mandela International Day, as far back as November 2009.
Below is an extract from the UN General Assembly Media Release.
” GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECLARES 18 JULY ‘NELSON MANDELA INTERNATIONAL DAY’
The Annual Celebration Will Commemorate Mandela’s Contribution to ‘Promotion of a Culture of Peace;’ Assembly Also Adopts Text on Alliance of Civilizations. Underscoring the importance of dialogue and tolerance to enriching cultures and promoting understanding among faiths, the General Assembly capped its two-day debate on the culture of peace with the adoption of two consensus resolutions that sought to make peace a way of life for people around the world.
With that in mind, and recognizing the long-standing dedication of former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela to humanity — particularly in the areas of conflict resolution, race relations, human rights promotion, reconciliation and gender equality — the Assembly adopted a text declaring 18 July, his birthday, as an International Day, to be observed annually starting in 2010.
By adopting that resolution, the world body expressed its appreciation for a great man who had suffered for the sake of people everywhere, said General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki, of Libya. Those thoughts were echoed resoundingly among the 19 speakers who also appealed for the creation of a world in which racism, hatred and human rights abuse would no longer find refuge.
The delegate of the United Republic of Tanzania called Mr. Mandela a visionary leader — the icon of the struggle for freedom — whose life had been the ultimate definition of peace, both in South Africa and throughout the world. As a young leader of the African National Congress (ANC) party in South Africa, Mr. Mandela had chosen the path of non-violent mass action to fight the juggernaut of apartheid.
Recounting Mr. Mandela’s 27-year imprisonment, he said Mr. Mandela had declared, during his trial, that he had fought against white domination, black domination, and had “cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.” It was a cause for which he was prepared to die.
But perhaps Mr. Mandela’s most outstanding contribution to world peace was his call for reconciliation with South Africa’s former oppressors. That was an example to be emulated by all.” ”
The campaign’s slogan for Nelson Mandela International Day is: “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”
To read the full Media Release, click here.