The United States joined 192 other United Nations member states this week in enthusiastically supporting by consensus the creation of Mandela International Day, every July 18 starting in 2010. July 18 is Nelson Mandela’s birthday; he turned 91 this year. This joint resolution recognizes and honors the extraordinary contribution to world peace made by former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. President Mandela is an example to every leader and every nation. His leadership was essential in the demise of apartheid and the successful launch of South Africa’s thriving multi-racial democracy. For this, he and his counterpart President F.W. de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Secretary Clinton stated, “Nelson Mandela is a hero to young and old, people of diverse backgrounds, and all racial groups. His life story is highlighted by amazing strength and integrity. After 26 years in an apartheid prison, he concluded a political deal with his prison keepers that allowed all the people of South Africa to partake in the new democracy. This is an inspiration to all of us, whether we work in politics, foreign affairs, human rights or any other area. I look forward to celebrating Mandela International Day next year.”
The U.S. statement to the General Assembly on the Adoption of Nelson Mandela International Day can be found here: http://usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2009/131795.htm