On Mandela Day, UN joins call to promote community service and inspire change

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran

New York, 18 July 2015 – The 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ founding provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on the life and work of Nelson Mandela with a call to action for helping others, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed today as he joined the world gathers in marking Nelson Mandela International Day.

“Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual call to action for people around the world to make a difference in the communities where they live and work by taking time to serve others,” the Secretary-General stated in his message for the Day.

“Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for human rights and social justice,” Mr. Ban continued. “The United Nations joins the Mandela Foundation in asking people around the world to devote at least 67 minutes of their time on 18 July – Madiba’s birthday – to a community service activity.”

The UN General Assembly declared 18 July ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ in 2009 in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to democracy, justice and reconciliation and to mark his birthday. Mr. Mandela passed away in December 2013 in Johannesburg at the age of 95.