International involvement

United Nations

Mandela Day has been officially adopted by the United Nations as “Nelson Mandela International Day”. The resolution was unanimously adopted on November 10, 2009, with the support of all UN member states and co-sponsorship of over 165 members, from all regions of the world. This represents the overwhelming support of the entire international community in honouring the late Mr Mandela. We hope this signals the beginning of greater involvement by the global community in this movement for good.

Read the speech made by Helene Hoedl, Deputy Director of the UN Information Centre, which she gave at the launch of Nelson Mandela International Day on March 28, 2011.

Mandela Day is an annual international day of humanitarian action in celebration of the late Mr Mandela’s life and legacy. It serves as a catalyst for each and every person to realise that they have the ability to change the world through action.

It is not about creating institutions with huge infrastructure, but it is a global movement for good which recognises that positive change begins with small actions. These actions can range from a vision for creating peace and reconciliation to sharing food with a neighbour in need. Mandela Day is particularly geared towards people doing work in their communities and is not event-driven. It is not a holiday.

As Mr Mandela reminded us, “It’s in our hands” to create a better world. We take inspiration from his example to take responsibility for ourselves and to understand our responsibility to others.

We would like to express our gratitude to the South African government for its efforts in making this international resolution possible.

The elders

The Elders – a group of eminent global leaders founded by the late Mr Nelson Mandela – have joined the late former president of South Africa in a special message of support for Nelson Mandela International Day.

In a video message shot during the Elders’ last visit to South Africa in June 2010, they urged people everywhere to give 67 minutes of their time to reach out to others in their communities.

You can see the video below:

International activities

Every year people around the world take part in Mandela Day.