Remarks on International Nelson Mandela Day 2017

Stefanie Amadeo
U.S. Deputy Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
July 18, 2017


Mr. President, today we celebrate the life and the legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. A true public servant, Nelson Mandela devoted over 67 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 tangible change and justice. His legacy transcends all boundaries and will continue to bring people closer together for generations to come.

Ninety-nine years ago today, Rolihlahla Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo, South Africa. Growing up during apartheid, he faced immense adversity and hardship, yet he never stopped pursuing the 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, not only to defend universal human dignity, but also to create a brighter future for coming generations.

His selfless struggle, during which he spent 27 years of his own life in prison, did not come with messages of hate or division, but respect and consideration. He taught us that we can right our transgressions and achieve accountability with a sense of compassion that in no way hinders progress. Nelson Mandela was a beacon of hope in this world and a true testament to the fact that peace and growth are possible anywhere.

This year the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s theme is Action Against Poverty, in honor of Nelson Mandela’s profound dedication to promoting social justice. So as we continue today and through the rest of the High Level Political Forum Week, I encourage all of my fellow delegates to reflect on Nelson Mandela’s legacy of striving for progress and to continue towards achieving peace, justice, and equality for all.

Thank you.