12 July 2005 Former South African President Nelson Mandela was today named Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in recognition of his “outstanding leadership” in the fight against racial discrimination and his “unfailing commitment” to democracy.
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura made the designation at a ceremony at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa.
According to the citation, Mr. Mandela was awarded the title “in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the fight against apartheid and racial discrimination, in his country and worldwide; for his dedication to reconciliation between different communities; his unfailing commitment to democracy, equality and learning; his support for all the oppressed of the Earth; and his exemplary contribution to international peace and understanding.”
As one of UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassadors, Mr. Mandela joins an outstanding group of celebrity advocates who have generously agreed to use their talent and status to promote UNESCO’s work and ideals. They include President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum of Guatemala.