United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
July 18, 2021
Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Nelson Mandela International Day
Today, we join people around the world in commemorating Nelson Mandela International Day – a day to remember the extraordinary life and legacy of a devoted public servant and to carry forward his vision for a more just, equitable, and inclusive world.
The essence of Mandela Day – to act and inspire change – is grounded in President Mandela’s lifelong struggle to advance human rights, freedom, and democracy in the face of extraordinary challenges. His uncommon courage, integrity, and compassion is a source of inspiration to the world and a powerful testament to the capacity for every person to affect change.
President Mandela’s leadership continues to motivate generations of young people across the globe to improve their communities and countries. Since 2010, the Young African Leaders Initiative has graduated more than 24,000 outstanding young innovators from every country in sub-Saharan Africa from its academic and leadership training programs, including the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Watching the Mandela Fellows flourish and advance President Mandela’s ideals of service reminds me that the future is in good hands.
I once had the great honor and fortune of a lifetime to meet Madiba. His leadership, his courage, and his commitment to doing what was right – in the face of difficult odds and grave danger – continue to inspire me today. As the international community honors him today, let us follow in his footsteps to leave our children with a more fair, free, and peaceful world.