Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18
For freedom, justice and democracy

Commemorative Events for 2013

Around the World

UN staff around the globe honoured Nelson Mandela’s contributions to human rights, democracy and justice by organizing events and volunteering at least 67 minutes of their day – one minute for each year of the South African leader’s public service – to help make a difference in their communities on 18 July, Nelson Mandela International Day.

In Antananarivo, the UNIC, the South African Embassy and UN agencies organized donations of school and hygiene kits, clothes and food to children at the Ivandry and Ankorondrano elementary schools. A football match and an exhibition were also part of the programme.


In Baku, the UN marked the day with an event at the University of Languages, featuring a short film about Mandela’s life, speeches by UN officials and a Nigerian NGO worker, as well as personal messages from Azerbaijani students wishing Madiba a swift recovery.


In Brussels, UN staff volunteered their time in detention centres, a soup kitchen, and a centre for abused women. UNRIC, in collaboration with the UN Communications Group, also organized a screening of the film “Searching for Sugar Man.”


In Bujumbura, some 100 people helped to clean and paint the facilities of Humanitarian Action against Delinquency, a centre that trains street children and vulnerable youth in manual trades. The South African Ambassador and UN representatives spoke at the event organized by the UNIC and the South African Embassy.


In Dar es Salaam, the UNIC brought together members of the diplomatic community, civil society, the South African diaspora, the UN family and the general public to chop firewood, mop floors, clean toilets, wash clothes and bed sheets, and cook at the St. Theresa Missionaries of Charity Children’s home in Mburahati.

Dar es Salaam

In Darfur, staff from the joint United Nations-African Union Peacekeeping Mission (UNAMID) devoted their time to cleaning the El-Fasher Maternity and Gynecological Hospital. The hospital treats more than 600 patients a month. Other activities included parades, cultural performances, songs and poetry.


In Dhaka, the UNIC and the Green University of Bangladesh jointly organized a seminar and open discussion chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the University, with remarks by the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration and others. Poetry reading and a video screening were also part of the activities.


In Geneva, 200 delegates, UN staff, NGO representatives and journalists packed a room to pay homage to Mandela. The event featured remarks by the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, the Permanent Representative of South Africa, and the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as three short films.


In Khartoum, Sudan, the UN Information Centre in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa, UN Volunteers, UN Association-Youth and MTN, worked together in renovating a school at Kober, Khartoum North.

Woman painting a wall

In Lagos, the UNIC, in collaboration with three NGOs, organized an event  at SOS Children’s Village, Isolo, where some 50 UN and NGO staff swept the floors, cleaned the windows, washed the toilets, arranged clothes, removed cobwebs, and took care of the babies.


In Libreville, Gabon, the office of the UN and the South African Embassy organized a special event where posters, postcards and booklets were handed out.

In Lima, the UNIC and the UN Friends Club organized an event at the Jorge Cieza Lachos High School featuring the screening of the UNTV documentary “South Africa: Voices of a New Future,” a discussion, theatrical performances, and poetry reading.


In Manila, the UNIC and the South African Embassy organized an exhibit at the UN House featuring photos of Nelson Mandela. The information centre also recorded a talk show with the Catholic radio network DZRH, highlighting parallels between Mandela and the Philippines' own hero, Ninoy Aquino.

In Moscow, the UN Country Team joined a press conference led by the South African Embassy at the Russian News Agency RIA Novosti, with remarks by South Africa's Ambassador and the head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


In Pretoria, UN staff, led by UNHCR, volunteered at the Divine Grace Crèche/Pre-School, which accommodates 170 children. Two UN teams participated in a 67 km Relay Challenge organized by Kaya FM and the Nelson Mandela Foundation to raise awareness for the day and collect funds for charities. And the UNIC, with the support of the UN Communications Group, organised a screening of the PBS-UNTV documentary “I live to sing.”


In Tunis, staff from the UNIC and the South Africa Embassy visited orphans at the SOS Children's Village of Gammarth, offering them cake and reading them stories. The information centre, with UNDP, also gathered Tunisian associations for a debate on tolerance, pardon and non-violence.


In Vienna, UNIS, the South African Embassy and Permanent Mission organized an exhibit, “Intimate Moments with Nelson Mandela,” in the Vienna International Centre. The UNOV Director-General and the South African Ambassador welcomed the guests, who could sign up to volunteer with NGOs assisting orphans, refugees, the elderly, the homeless, and animals in need.