17.07.2014 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

UNESCO message for the Nelson Mandela International Day

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July 2014.

The celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day is particularly significant this year. Just months after the death of this icon of freedom, whose legacy was hailed by the whole world, we can gauge the indelible mark that he has left on history and the enduring relevance of his message.

Nelson Mandela changed much more than the fate of his own country. By struggling for freedom and dignity, he contributed to the advancement of human rights and universal recognition of the equality of all men and women. A political prisoner who became president, he chose the difficult path of dialogue, appeasement and mutual understanding, in order to put an end to the worst form of segregation and lead his country to reconciliation.

Mandela’s journey embodies the bold spirit of peace and all of the energy needed to renounce the self-sustaining vicious circle of violence. His impressive statement from the dock at the Rivonia Trial, included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, remains one of the strongest expressions of the universal aspiration to “a democratic and free society”.




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