18 December 2019

United Nations Calls for Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize Nominations

The United Nations is calling for nominations for the 2020 United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize.

The Prize was established in June 2014 by the United Nations General Assembly 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 Mandela’s extraordinary life and legacy of reconciliation, political transition, and social transformation.

First awarded in 2015, the Prize recognized two outstanding individuals:  Dr. Helena Ndume of Namibia, an ophthalmologist whose life’s work has been the treatment of blindness and eye-related illnesses, both in Namibia and throughout the developing world; and former President of Portugal, Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio, a leader in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in his country.

Nominations for the 2020 prize will be accepted until 28 February 2020.  The Award is presented every five years to two individuals:  one female and one male.  Laureates will be selected by a United Nations committee chaired by the President of the General Assembly and composed of representatives of six Member States, including representatives from each of the five regional groups, a representative of the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations and five eminent individuals who will serve as ex officio members.  The United Nations Department of Global Communications will serve as the committee’s secretariat.

It is expected that the laureates will be announced in May 2020, with the prizes awarded at United Nations Headquarters in New York during the commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day, marked on 18 July.

For more information, please visit or e-mail

Details on submission of nominations can be found at

Nominations can be submitted in English or French until 28 February 2020 at [English] or [French].

Social media:  #MandelaPrize #MandelaDay.


Once every five years, commencing in 2015, an honorary award will be presented as a tribute to the outstanding achievements and contributions of two 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.

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.

For additional information and media requests, please contact Julia Hagl, Information Officer, United Nations Department of Global Communications at tel.:  +1 212 963 0943; email:

For information media. Not an official record.