The UN General Assembly has called a special meeting on July 18 to mark the Nelson Mandela International Day.
The ailing South African leader’s contributions to democracy, racial justice and reconciliation will be honoured on the occasion.
Former US President Bill Clinton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, singer, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte, and Andrew Mlangeni will be the speakers at the meeting.
The General Assembly meeting starting at 10 a.m. on July 18 is part of a series of events to take place in the UN and around the world.
“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 ninety-fifth birthday, let us also give tangible meaning to our feelings of concern by taking action on behalf of others,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the day.
“Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for human rights and social justice. In marking this Day, the United Nations is joining the Mandela Foundation in asking people around the world to devote at least 67 minutes of their time on 18 July to community service,” he added.
Ban Ki-moon said, ‘the heart of Nelson Mandela International Day is good works for people and the planet’.
“Its theme ? “take action, inspire change” ? is meant to mobilize the human family to do more to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world. This is the best tribute we can pay to an extraordinary man who embodies the highest values of humanity,” Ban Ki-moon said.
“At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mandela, his family and with all the people of South Africa. We are united in admiration for a giant of our times,” he added.
Every year on July 18, individuals around the world are encouraged to devote 67 minutes to helping others by volunteering in a hospital, tutoring a child, providing food for the homeless, or any other community service.