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

Commemorative Events for 2015

New York

On Friday, 24 July 2015 the United Nation General Assembly held a special meeting to mark Nelson Mandela International Day. For the first time, the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize, established by General Assembly resolution 68/275 of 6 June 2014, was awarded to the 2015 laureates. The award ceremony was part of the annual commemoration and took place at the Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York. Speakers at the meeting included the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda; General Assembly President Sam Kahamba Kutesa; the United Nations Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra; the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, Kingsley Mamabolo; and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Following the meeting, United Nations officials, the Mandela Prize laureates and other dignitaries took part in a community service activity in the newly established United Nations Food Garden. The UN Food Garden was officially opened by Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Ms. Susana Malcorra, the New York City Commissioner for International Affairs, Ms. Penny Abeywardena and New York City Commissioner for Parks and Recreation, Mr. Mitchell Silver.

In New York, United Nations teamed up GreenThumb to send UN staff members to volunteer in the community gardens across the city, planting seedlings, pulling weeds, and watering plant beds. Every year, as part of the “Take Action, Inspire Change” campaign on Nelson Mandela International Day, individuals throughout the world are encouraged to devote 67 minutes to helping others.

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Mandela Day laureates

The two Mandela Prize laureates pose for a group photo at the event. From left: Dr. Ndume; Jesse Jackson, Sr., civil rights leader in the United States; Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda; Susana Malcorra, Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary-General; Sam Kutesa, President of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly; Mr. Branco Sampaio.

Mandela Day garden opening

Ruhakana Rugunda (second from left), Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, participates in the opening of the United Nations Food Garden, on the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July). Pictured with him (starting at left): Sam Kutesa, President of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly; Mitchell Silver, New York City Commissioner for Parks and Recreation; Susana Malcorra, Chef de Cabinet to the UN Secretary-General; and Penny Abeywardena, New York City Commissioner for International Affairs.

Events around the World

The United Nations network of information centres organized a variety of volunteer events and commemorations to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.

Antananarivo 2015
Antananarivo, Madagascar

Antananarivo, Madagascar


UNIC Antananarivo organized a number of events to mark International Nelson Mandela Day. UNIC staff members officially opened the exhibition on Madiba at the Alliance Française de Tananarive. The playoff of the 67 Questions On Mandela for high school and university students were held at UNIC Antananarivo on 8 July. On 17 July, the UN System in partnership with the South African Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted diplomatic corps, government officials, civil society members, the medias and youth during the official ceremony of the Nelson Mandela Day.

Algiers, Algeria


UNIC Algiers organized a volunteer day under the slogan “Take Action! Inspire Change!" with the participation of staff of the Embassy of South Africa in Algeria, UN staff and 50 youth. They planted a “Nelson Mandela tree” and cleaned part of the Bainem forest to mark Mandela Day. In addition, there was a playful animation, with a drawing workshop for children, 25 July. To mark Nelson Mandela Day, UNIC Algiers issued honorary certificates to its partners in recognition of their commitment in the promotion of UN values.

Almaty, Kazakhstan


To honour the memory of Nelson Mandela, UNO Almaty, the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Kazakhstan and the al-Farabi Kazakh National University (a UN Academic Impact Global Hub on Sustainability) jointly established and officially opened the Nelson Mandela Centre at the University's Faculty of Philosophy and Political Science. The Centre honours one of the greatest fighters for human rights, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, and is expected to serve as a resource base and a platform to discuss global human rights. The opening ceremony was followed by a thematic roundtable, 14 July.


Dakar, Senegal

An exhibition tracing Mandela's life was set up with the support of UNIC Dakar and the "Madibaristes" (Senegalese youth who have "Madiba", as Nelson Mandela is known, as their role model) at the University of Dakar. The two-day celebrations marking the International Nelson Mandela Day included activities such as HIV/AIDS testing in partnership with the National Council for the Fight against AIDS; a blood drive, in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Centre; and a film screening on the life of Mandela, 23 and 24 June.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Nelson Mandela Day was commemorated at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic ward in Tanzania. The event, which was organized by the South African High Commission and UNIC Dar es Salaam, drew members of the diplomatic corps, youths, academia, UN staff and the media, 24 July.


Nairobi, Kenya


UNIC Nairobi collaborated with the South African High Commission to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day by spending time at the Little Sisters home, which cares for 78 residents whose age range to 108 years. Participants visited with its elderly residents, cleaning and cooking, with them. The UNIC Director and the High Commissioner presented small gifts to residents, as part of the effort to honour the International Day’s objective to "Take Action, Inspire Change", 16 July.

New Delhi, India
New Delhi, India

New Delhi, India


UNIC New Delhi celebrated Nelson Mandela International Day with students of the National Progressive Schools' Conference. As part of the collaboration, young artists created a series of captivating posters depicting Africa's rich and diverse culture.


Moscow, Russian Federation


UNIC Moscow and the South African Embassy organized jointly a special event to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day. Faina Zakharova of the Life Line charitable foundation described its mission of reducing children’s deaths from serious diseases and fostering a culture of philanthropy in Russian society, 17 July.


Pretoria, South Africa

Pretoria, South Africa

To celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day, UNIC Pretoria led the UN Communications Group to host a free screening of the acclaimed documentary “Mandela: The Passing of an Icon” in Pretoria. Based on journalists’ insights and thoughts, the documentary is a timeline of events that followed Mandela’s passing, and illustrates the unity and social cohesiveness of people around the world who were united in mourning. The event was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, government, NGOs and UN staff, 18 July. UNIC Pretoria produced a Mandela Day building banner which was placed on the UN Building, in a busy intersection in Pretoria for the entire month of July. The banner, visible to hundreds of people passing by every day, serves as a reminder of Mandela’s role and contribution to unity and social cohesion in South Africa.