News Americas, UNITED NATIONS, NY, Fri. July 18,
2014: The United Nations on Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18, 2014, pledged to promote “desperately needed” acts of kindness and goodwill and uplift poor and underdeveloped communities worldwide.
“For the past five years, we have come together to celebrate the life and spirit of a unique individual who touched the entire world – Nelson Mandela – the Madiba,” General Assembly President John Ashe said during a special event at UN Headquarters.
“This year, for the first time, we celebrate his birthday without him. But while our hearts hang heavy with loss, we have his indelible memory and his important legacy to carry forward.”
In 2009, the Assembly declared July 18th “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.
Friday was the first observance since Mandela’s passing last December.
Ban remembered Mandela’s personal connection to the earth as a gardener. Even in jail, he gained the right to plant a garden on the roof of the prison.
In tribute to that, Ban joined volunteers from MillionTreesNYC and UN staff to tend to dozens of newly planted trees near UN Headquarters and in the community of East Harlem.
Also participating in Friday’s event were Reverend Jesse Jackson, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, and Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela.