© UN Photo/Kim Haughton
2017 Commemorative Events
UN General Assembly Meeting — NYC
UN Headquarters, 18 July —
An informal plenary meeting marked Nelson Mandela International Day with remarks by the President of the General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General, the Minister of Environment of the Republic of South Africa, a representative of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the NYC Commissioner for International Affairs, representatives of the five regional groups, a representative of the United States of America, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover.
Volunteers Support Shorelines & Urban Farms — NYC
Randall’s Island —
The UN Department of Public Information and the Office of the President of the General Assembly partnered with the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, NYC Service and the Randall’s Island Park Alliance to engage UN staff and the diplomatic community to support a healthy ocean and urban farming to advance environmental justice and reduce poverty. Volunteers helped keep New York’s harbor healthy and resilient by cleaning its shorelines of litter and invasive plants, and learned about the importance of urban farming in raising awareness about nutritious food for all communities.
The project gave volunteers the opportunity to give back to the community in NYC; permanent host of the UN Headquarters.
Remarks were delivered by the President of the GA, the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN, the NYC Commissioner for International Affairs, the Acting Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, the NYC Chief Service Officer and the President of the Randall’s Island Park Alliance.
UNIC Accra organized the community for a street clean-up activity in Nima—one of Accra’s most impoverished suburbs. It was followed by a community durbar and cultural dance performance at the Nima Cluster of Schools. Dignitaries also had the opportunity to tour the school facilities.
UNIC Antananarivo coordinated a series of events to honour Mandela’s legacy. Staff assisted with repainting and repairing a local orphanage, and also provided donations of food, supplies and blankets. An official ceremony held with the South African Embassy marked the launch of a Mandela postage stamp. The UNIC also organized the "Questions on Mandela" contest finals for students as well as a poster exhibition and cultural activities at the University of Antananarivo.
UNIC Brazzaville joined a youth association for a visit to a local orphanage. Participants assisted with cooking meals, cleaned the backyard and painted the living room and external walls of the main building.
UNIC Bujumbura organized an outreach activity for 500 youth at the Kamenge Youth Centre to encourage action and impact change. The programme included a screening of a UN production on Mandela’s legacy as well as the feature film, Invictus, followed by an interactive debate amongst the youth. Participants also formed bricks to help build homes for those in poverty.
UNIC Canberra partnered with the South African High Commission to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day and engage residents at the Baptist Aged Care Facility in Red Hill, Canberra. The group enjoyed a film about the life of Nelson Mandela and also received his autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom.
UNIC Dakar supported several activities held at the University Cheikh Anta Diop, including a beach cleanup exercise and a blood drive. The National Blood Transfusion Center collected more than 150 bags of blood. The UNIC also organized a forum on Mandela’s legacy and on governance in Africa. This was followed by a panel debate.
UNIC Dhaka organized a discussion and poster exhibition with ASA University. The event included a presentation on Nelson Mandela’s life-long fight to end racial discrimination and promote peace. Students also participated in an open discussion and Q&A session.
UNIC Harare organized a volunteer activity at Runyararo Children’s Home, an orphanage in Marlborough. Staff performed various activities, including cleaning, gardening and playing with children. The UNIC also hosted a roundtable discussion focused on Sustainable Development Goal 1 – End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
UNIC Jakarta observed Nelson Mandela International Day at a local community garden in the Cikini area of central Jakarta. Staff learned how to plant celery on raised beds, harvested jimaca and ambarella, and donated materials, such as organic fertilizer, black soil and water sprays. The UNIC also joined the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for a commemorative event focused on improving the treatment of prisoners.
UNIC Lagos held events in two cities in South West Nigeria, reaching over 600 people. In Lagos, participants engaged in community service and watched a film on the life of Nelson Mandela. In Ibadan, the UNIC organized a similar event for students at St. Louis Girls Grammar School.
UNIC Lusaka partnered with the South Africa High Commission and other local groups for a youth outreach activity at Asher Jewel Academy. The children made compost and established a vegetable garden to support the school’s feeding programme. Staff also held a discussion with youth at Nyakezu Vision School on the life of Nelson Mandela and the need for justice, peace, human rights and tolerance.
UNIC Manila organized a shore cleanup at Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area. Over 500 volunteers joined the activity, including the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of South Africa, the mayor of Paranaque City and Antoinette Taus, a Filipina actress and model.
New Delhi, India
UNIC New Delhi joined local organizations to host an event for 250 students from over 20 schools in the region. The commemoration included musical performances and a film screening highlighting how Mandela had been inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. This was followed by an interactive session where students learned more about Mandela’s life and values.
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
UNIC Ouagadougou organized an exhibition of photos, posters and brochures, which attracted over 5,000 visitors. The National Television of Burkina Faso featured a television program arranged by the UNIC to further promote Mandela’s work. To underline the need for humane prison conditions, the Minister of Justice also led a visit to a prison in the city of Koudougou. A football competition between detainees and local merchants added a positive touch to the event.
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
UNIC Port of Spain collaborated with the United Nations Volunteer programme and the Volunteer Centre of Trinidad and Tobago to host a briefing on the link between volunteerism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Participants learned about available opportunities to support the achievement of the SDGs while heeding the Nelson Mandela call to public service.
Pretoria, South Africa
UNIC Pretoria marked this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day with donations of wheelchairs, blankets and toiletries to the Adelaide Tambo School for the Physically Challenged based in Soweto, Johannesburg. Staff from the UN and the Nelson Mandela Foundation participated in a cleanup exercise of the school yard. Later, UN staff took part in simultaneous sessions on leadership and career guidance held at the YMCA Centre, also in Soweto. Volunteers assisted students with various school activities.
Washington, United States
UNIC Washington teamed up with the South African Embassy to support the Rock Creek Conservancy. A team of 30 volunteers removed bags worth of trash from a section of Rock Creek Park and separated out recyclables. This year’s activity was an opportunity to work for the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on removing plastics from our waterways.
UNIC Yaounde organized an outreach event at the National Centre for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities where participants shared uplifting messages and gifts with patients. A panel discussion followed, with a focus on Mandela’s legacy and the theme of poverty. Additionally, the screening of Invictus highlighted Mandela’s leadership to promote reconciliation among South Africans.