Mandela Day: UN marks Nelson Mandela International Day with volunteer work

New York, US (PANA) - The UN was Thursday marking the Nelson Mandela International Day, in celebration of the South African icon's 95th birthday and in honour of his dedication to public service, social justice and reconciliation, inspiring millions around the world.

The UN is joining the commemoration in line with the theme set by the Nelson Mandela Foundation - “Take Action, Inspire Change” - to volunteer 67 minutes to helping others by volunteering in a hospital, tutoring a child, providing food for the homeless, or any other community service.

A UN statement obtained by PANA in New York Thursday said the UN staffers in New York would volunteer their time to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy last fall.

Also at the UN Headquarters in New York, the General Assembly is holding a special meeting to mark the Day, and speakers at the session will include former US President Bill Clinton, Revd. Jesse Jackson, singer, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte, and Andrew Mlangeni, a close friend of Mr. Mandela who was imprisoned with him.

The “67-minutes” campaign is based on people devoting one minute of their time for every year that Mr. Mandela devoted to public service, as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically-elected President of post-apartheid South Africa.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said this year's commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day ''comes at a moment of deep reflection on the life and work of Madiba, as the universally revered leader remains in the hospital”.

“As we extend our best wishes to President Mandela on his 95th birthday, let us also give tangible meaning to our feelings of concern by taking action on behalf of others,” Ban said. “The heart of Nelson Mandela International Day is good works for people and the planet.
Its theme…is meant to mobilise the human family to do more to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world.”

Mr. Ban said that is the best tribute that can be paid to an ''extraordinary man who embodies the highest values of humanity.”

In an apparent reference to Mandela's illness, which has confined him to a hospital in Pretoria since 8 June, Mr. Ban said that at this difficult time, his thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mandela, his family and all the people of South Africa.

“We are united in admiration for a giant of our times,” Mr. Ban added

PANA reports that the Nelson Mandela International Day, which was first observed in 2010, was declared by the UN in November 2009.
-0- PANA SEG 18July2013

18 july 2013 14:27:32

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