Remarks at a UN General Assembly Informal Meeting in Observance of Nelson Mandela International Day

Ambassador Lisa Carty
U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
July 18, 2022


Thank you, Mr. President, Excellencies, honored guests.

The United States is honored to help celebrate the life and enduring legacy of Nelson Mandela. His impact in this country has been profound, has spanned generations, and has served as a guidepost for action. Today’s complicated world demands that we take forward President Mandela’s vision with the same commitment and energy that he exhibited during his life – because racism, inequality, and injustice are a threat to us all.

Congratulations to today’s Laureates on the Nelson Mandela Prize and the vision you’ve shown in advancing his example. Thank you so much for inspiring us.

In a May 2005, at Amherst College, President Mandela stated, “We are all threatened by entrenched inequality and divisions. We all must prove…equal to a better possibility.” In the United States we still have our work to do, but we’ve taken up this call, both at home and abroad.

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an Executive Order directing a government-wide effort to develop targeted plans to advance equity. In April of this year more than 90 federal agencies released their first-ever Equity Action Plans, laying out strategies and commitments to address systemic barriers to equity in the United States.

The United States has recently appointed its first Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice to advance the rights of persons belonging to marginalized communities and to combat systemic racism, discrimination, and xenophobia around the world.

Last October, President Biden established the White House Gender Policy Council to ensure that gender equity and equality are at the forefront of America’s domestic and foreign policy. And the United States works vigorously to support the robust engagement of civil society on issues related to equity, justice, accessibility, and inclusivity.

Despite our promising efforts, there’s more to do. We must comprehensively tackle the complex challenges of this moment, including the impacts COVID-19, climate change, food insecurity, health disparities, emerging technologies, and economic dislocation on marginalized populations and those left behind. We must also work to restore trust in global institutions, strengthen democracy worldwide and accelerate our work to combat racism, inequality, and all forms of intolerance. And we must do this with great urgency.

As Nelson Mandela stated, our ideals and compassion must be matched by our actions. By unifying our efforts and centering equity and justice in our global affairs, we can do what we can, with what we have, wherever we are in pursuit of a more just and equal world.

Thank you.