New Yorkers, diplomats to celebrate Mandela's birthday

New York, US (PANA) - Hundreds of New Yorkers and diplomats will gather in New York's
Central Park on 18 July to hold a public service to celebrate Nelson Mandela 93rd birthday, a UN statement said Thursday.

The statement, made available to PANA in New York, said the celebration, tagged: "Take Action! Inspire Change", is also to mark the Nelson Mandela International Day 2011.

It stated that, "'Take Action! Inspire Change' campaign for Nelson Mandela International
Day asks people everywhere to devote 67 minutes of their time to a community-based

"This is in recognition of Mandela’s 67 years of service to humanity - as a human rights
lawyer, leader of South Africa’s struggle for freedom and democracy, a prisoner of
conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically-elected President
of a free South Africa,'' it noted

The statement disclosed that the UN Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa,
Ambassador Doctor Mashabane, would deliver an address at the event, while Ms. Jennifer
Davis, former director of the anti-apartheid American Committee on Africa and the
Africa Fund, would speak on Mandela's achievements.

It also said that a birthday cake in honour of Mandela’s 93rd birthday would be shared by
the volunteers.

"Also in New York, an interactive exhibition, called: `Take Action! Inspire Change' will be
displayed in the Visitors Entrance to the UN headquarters.

"Visitors can learn about Mandela through a range of video and audio materials, as well
as make their pledge to '67 minutes of service' in a message that will be sent to Mandela
himself,'' it stated.

PANA learnt that other UN offices around the world will also mark the day by undertaking
activities in their local communities.

The statement also recalled that last year at the inaugural commemoration of the day,
the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, stated: "Nelson Mandela’s achievements came
at great personal cost to himself and his family.

"His sacrifice not only served the people of his own nation, South Africa, but made the
world a better place for all people, everywhere…He showed the way. He changed the
world,'' Ban said.

In November 2009, the UN 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.
-0- PANA AA/BOS 14July2011

14 july 2011 17:11:41

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