Nelson Mandela International Day

Sister Germaine Price, representing the Company of the Daughters of Charity at the United Nations, shares the news below from the UN in New York:

[UN-NGO] The General Assembly of the United Nations decided in November, 2009 to declare July 18, Mr. Mandela’s birthday as the ” Nelson Mandela International Day” to commemorate his long-standing commitment to conflict resolution, race relations, human rights, reconciliation and gender equality. This day honors the former South African leader’s contribution to the struggle for peace and freedom.  Nelson Mandela was a man of great integrity throughout his life, as he worked for freedom, he strived to live in a way that respected and enhanced the freedom of others.  He firmly believed that ‘your freedom and mine cannot be separated.’

His example is a reminder to the international community of the importance of dialogue as a path to peace. He reminds us that:” If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

The former anti-apartheid leader and   Noble Peace Prize laureate liked to tell others that he was an ordinary man. He was not supported by money or power but he achieved extraordinary things at great personal cost both to him and to his family.  His sacrifices not only served the people of his own nation, South Africa, but made the world a better place in which to live. It is one of the reasons he is such an inspiration to millions of people around the world.

The world is different today in 2012 than it was in 2010 when this day was celebrated for the first time.  So many countries and people can take inspiration, hope and courage from this great leader as they struggle for lasting peace and freedom in their own lives and countries.  Will we also take up his challenge?

 “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity –it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great; you are that generation.”

For more information on Daughters of Charity at the UN: www.cmdcngo.org>

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