As the world marks Nelson Mandela International Day, United Nations officials and UN Peace Ambassador Stevie Wonder today paid tribute to the South African activist and peacemaker's tireless efforts to end intolerance and injustice, calling on the international community to follow his guiding example in efforts to build a better world for all.
“Nelson Mandela International Day is an opportunity to reflect on the life and work of a legend who embodied the highest values of the United Nations,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson at a meeting of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York to mark the Day, which is observed annually on 18 July.
“Today, we remember a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement who worked tirelessly for peace and human dignity,” he added, delivering the message on behalf of UNSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is currently in South Africa for the International AIDS Conference and will be marking the Day in Durban.
The Deputy Secretary-General emphasized that as the UN sets out to implement the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States should seek to continue building on Mr. Mandela's legacy of selflessness and deep sense of shared purpose.
“Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to bring change to the people of South Africa. His accomplishments came at great personal cost to himself and his family. His sacrifice not only served the people of his nation, but all people around the world, giving them hope to fulfil their dreams and aspirations,” the Deputy Secretary-General said, adding that “Nelson Mandela continues to show us the way.”