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 on Saturday as he joined the world 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.

The overall campaign slogan – Take Action, Inspire Change – seeks to inspire people around the world to take 67 minutes of time devoted to helping others and, in so doing, empower entire communities and build a global movement for good.

In the past, volunteers have helped to rebuild homes destroyed by hurricane Sandy in the New York, offered school supplies to children, prepared meals for the elderly, helped out in orphanages, cleaned up parks, and delivered computer literacy workshops.

This year’s commemoration comes a week before the UN is set to bestow its first-ever Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize to two individuals – a man and a woman – for their service to humanity.

Dr. Helena Ndume, of Namibia, and Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio, of Portugal, will receive the award at a ceremony to take place on 24 July 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York.

Source: United Nations

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