17 July 2014

Secretary-General Joins Global Community Service Activities in Honour of Nelson Mandela on 18 July

17 July 2014
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Joins Global Community Service Activities


in Honour of Nelson Mandela on 18 July


General Assembly Meeting,

Community Service to Mark Nelson Mandela International Day

The United Nations General Assembly will mark Nelson Mandela International Day with an informal meeting on Friday, 18 July, honouring the South African leader’s contributions to democracy, racial justice and reconciliation.

Speakers at the meeting will include the President of the General Assembly; the Secretary-General; Baleka Mbete, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa; Reverend Jesse Jackson; and Gay McDougall.  The establishment of the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize will be formally announced at the meeting.  The prize, recognizing an individual who embodies the spirit of Mr. Mandela, is the initiative of the current President of the General Assembly, John W. Ashe.  The meeting starting at 10 a.m. on 18 July — Mr. Mandela’s 96th birthday — is part of a series of events to take place in New York and around the world that day.

“Last year, the world lost one of its greatest leaders when Nelson Mandela passed away,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the day.  “Nelson Mandela Day is a call to action.  Each of us can celebrate the Day by helping to address real problems in our communities.  Together, we can give great meaning to our celebration by paving the way for a better future.”

Every year on 18 July, individuals around the world are encouraged to devote 67 minutes to helping others — by volunteering in a hospital, tutoring a child, providing food for the homeless, or any other community service.  The 67 minute campaign — “Take Action, Inspire Change” — is based on people devoting one minute of their time for every year that Nelson Mandela devoted to public service — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and President of South Africa.

On 18 July, the Secretary-General, staff from the United Nations Secretariat, the United Nations General Assembly President’s Office and the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations will partner with MillionTreesNYC to care for dozens of newly planted trees near the United Nations Headquarters and in the community of East Harlem, New York City.

United Nations offices around the world are organizing events in honour of Nelson Mandela.

Background on Nelson Mandela International Day

In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.  General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Mr. Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups.

To view the live webcast of the General Assembly meeting at 10:00 a.m.:

To request media accreditation:  +1 212 963 6934 or +1 212 963 6937; e-mail:

For further information, photos, videos and other resources:

Media contact:  Aaron J. Buckley, United Nations Department of Public Information; +1 212 963 4632; e-mail:

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.