A blind pursuit of cheap popularity has nothing to do with revolution.
- Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Prize

awarded for the first time in 2015 *

General Assembly resolution 69/269 (2 April 2015) provides the Statute of the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize, including a description of the Prize and details on the aim of the Prize; the nomination process; the composition of the Selection Committee.

Resolution 68/275 (6 June 2014) establishes the Mandela Prize and resolution 64/13 (10 November 2009) designates 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day, observed by the UN since 2010.

Background

What is the Prize?

Once every 5 years, commencing in 2015, an honorary award will be presented as a tribute to the outstanding achievements and contributions of 2 laureates: one female and one male who shall not be selected from the same geographic region.

Originally established by resolution 68/275 (6 June 2014), the Prize Statute was approved by resolution 69/269 (2 April 2015).

In recognition of the humility of Nelson Mandela, the Prize awarded to each winner is a plaque engraved with an appropriate citation and a relevant quotation. The Committee for the Prize, in consultation with the UN Secretary-General, determine the quotation.

Who is Eligible?

The Prize aims to recognize the achievements of those who dedicated their lives to the service of humanity as guided by the purposes and principles of the UN, while honouring and paying homage to Mandela’s extraordinary life and legacy of reconciliation, political transition and social transformation.

The Prize shall be awarded to acknowledge this service to humanity in the promotion of reconciliation and social cohesion, and in community development.

No current staff member of any organization of the United Nations system shall be eligible for the Prize.

How are the Laureates Chosen?

Nominations can be received from a broad variety of sources including Member States and observer States of the UN; entities and intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and work of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council; institutions of higher education; independent research centres and institutes; NGOs in consultative status with Economic and Social Council; laureates of the Prize.

Nominations are reviewed by the secretariat and a consolidated list is presented to a Committee that selects the winners.

The Committee has 7 members: the General Assembly President (Chair); a representative of the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the UN; 5 representatives of Member States of the UN (one from each of the 5 regional groups).

The Committee also selects 5 eminent individuals as honorary members to serve in an advisory capacity for a specific term during the selection process every 5 years. The individuals shall have made significant contributions to the service of humanity and to promoting the purposes and principles of the UN. Their selection is based on equitable geographical representation.

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What is the Timeline?

According to the Statute, nominations shall reach the secretariat no later than 31 December of the year prior to the year for which the nominations are to be considered.

Individuals receiving the Prize will be announced in May of the year in which the Prize is to be awarded.

The Secretary-General will present the Prize at an award ceremony as part of the General Assembly commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July) at UN Headquarters.

* Streamlined measures for 2015*

Appropriate streamlined measures were applied for the first bestowing of the Prize on an exceptional, one-time basis (Article 2.4 of the Statute) as follows:

  • 22 June 2015 — the first 2 Prize Laureates announced.
  • 24 July 2015 — the award ceremony took place at UN Headquarters, New York, during the annual commemoration of the NMID.
More information on the 2015 laureates >>

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Article 1 - Aim

  1. The aim of the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize, established by the General Assembly in its resolution 68/275 of 6 June 2014, is to recognize the achievements of those who dedicate their lives to the service of humanity, by promoting the purposes and principles of the United Nations while honouring and paying homage to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s extraordinary life and legacy of reconciliation, political transition and social transformation.
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Article 2 - Prize

  1. The Prize shall be presented once every five years as a tribute to the outstanding achievements and contributions of two individuals (one female and one male), not to be selected from the same geographic region, and shall take into account the geographic region of the previous awardees so as to ensure equitable balance. The Prize shall be awarded in recognition of their dedicated service to humanity, in the promotion of reconciliation and social cohesion, and in community development, guided by the purposes and principles of the United Nations. No current staff member of any organization of the United Nations system shall be eligible for the Prize.
  2. The Prize, to be awarded to each winner, in recognition of the humility of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela shall be a plaque engraved with an appropriate citation and a relevant quotation. The quotation shall be determined by the Committee for the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize (see art. 4), in consultation with the Secretary-General.
  3. The individuals who are to receive the Prize shall be announced in May of the year in which the Prize is to be awarded. The Prize shall be presented by the Secretary-General at an award ceremony that shall be part of the commemoration by the General Assembly of Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July) at United Nations Headquarters.
  4. The first Prize is expected to be awarded in 2015. The Committee is requested, on an exceptional, one-time basis, to take appropriate streamlined measures, for the first bestowing of the Prize.
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Article 3 - Nomination of Candidates

  1. Written nominations for the Prize may be received from the following:
    1. Governments of Member States and observer States of the United Nations;
    2. Entities and intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and work of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council;
    3. Institutions of higher education, in particular universities and other educational establishments, which provide a programme of education beyond secondary education, grant post-secondary degrees and are approved and/or accredited as institutions of higher education by the competent authorities of Member States, as well as independent research centres and institutes that are engaged in dedicated service to humanity, the promotion of reconciliation and social cohesion, and community development;
    4. Non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council;
    5. Laureates of the Prize, unless they are currently serving on the Committee.
  2. The secretariat of the Committee shall publicize the prize on existing websites of the United Nations and through existing communication and outreach channels. Nominations shall reach the secretariat not later than 31 December of the year prior to the year for which the nominations are to be considered. The secretariat shall transmit nominations received, in accordance with the present statute, to the members of the Committee.
  3. The Committee shall, if possible, be convened during the month of March of the year in which the Prize is to be awarded, to select the two laureates for that year.
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Article 4 - Committee

  1. The individuals who are to receive the Prize shall be selected by the Committee (see art. 2 (2) above), to be composed of the following:
    1. Five representatives of States Members of the United Nations, one to be selected by each of the five regional groups, namely, African States, Asia-Pacific States, Eastern European States, Latin American and Caribbean States, and Western European and other States, for a period of five years;
    2. A representative of the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations, to serve as ex officio member of the Committee;
    3. The President of the General Assembly, who shall serve as Chair of the Committee.
  2. The Committee shall select five eminent individuals, based on equitable geographical representation, who have made significant contributions to the service of humanity and to promoting the purposes and principles of the United Nations. Such eminent persons shall be honorary members of the Committee and shall serve in an advisory capacity for a specific term during the selection process every five years, which may be renewed as the Committee may decide. For those eminent persons who are not present in New York, their contributions shall be shared in writing or virtually, as appropriate.
  3. The Department of Public Information shall serve as the secretariat of the Committee.
  4. The seven members of the Committee shall make their decisions by consensus and the Committee may adopt its own working methods.
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