Remarks at the Annual Observance of Nelson Mandela International Day

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
July 18, 2018


Thank you, Mr. President. It’s a great honor to be here today as we celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. A great and inspirational public servant, Mandela devoted almost 70 years of his life to helping transform his country into a better version of itself. Nelson Mandela became one of the most influential figures of our time, influencing leaders from all continents to push for change and for justice. His legacy transcends many boundaries and will continue to bring people closer together for generations to come.

Growing up during apartheid, Mandela faced immense adversity, hardship, yet he never stopped pursuing justice and equality that he knew all people deserved. Over the course of his life, he would grow into a true visionary. Nelson Mandela fought to defend universal human dignity and to create a brighter future for coming generations.

His selfless struggle, including his 27 years in prison, did not come with messages of hate or division, but ones of respect and consideration. He taught us that we can achieve reconciliation with a sense of compassion that may importantly contribute to progress. Nelson Mandela was a beacon of hope in this world and a testament to the fact that peace and profound growth are possible anywhere.

In honor of Nelson Mandela’s centenary, we join our fellow delegates in reflecting on his legacy of striving for progress, peace, justice, and equality for all.

Thank you.