Nelson Mandela continues to inspire the world through his example of courage and compassion, and his commitment to social justice and a culture of freedom and peace.
I had the honour of meeting Nelson Mandela several times, including during South Africa’s transition. Each time, I was struck by his wisdom, his compassion, and above all, his humility.
One of the most important lessons we can learn from Nelson Mandela is that to make progress, we must look forward, however difficult that may be.
Nelson Mandela was known as prisoner 46664 for 18 years. But he never became a prisoner of his past. Sentenced to hard labour and solitary confinement on Robben Island, he rose above suffering and indignity to lead his country, and our world, to a brighter day.
He did not succumb to bitterness or personal animosity, but poured his formidable energy into realizing his vision of a peaceful, multi-ethnic, democratic South Africa. Nelson Mandela once said a saint could be defined as a sinner who keeps on trying. That is a powerful message of hope, in a world riven with fear and cynicism. It is never too late to face the future, and try again.
Today, as we commemorate Nelson Mandela’s lifetime of service, the best tribute we can pay this great man is not words or in ceremonies, but actions that improve our world.
Each of us can make a difference in promoting peace, human rights, sustainable development, and lives of dignity for all. Each of us can be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s example, and by his famous words: It always seems impossible until it’s done.
Let us all build on the legacy of Nelson Mandela.
INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLICIT TRAFFICKING
New York, 26 June 2017
Last year, at the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS), the international community took steps to mobilize a multifaceted, collective response to the full range of issues related to drug abuse and illicit trafficking. Governments came together to chart a new path forward that is more effective and humane, and leaves no one behind. CONTINUE
100-DAY COUNTDOWN TO THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE 13 JUNE
New York, 13 June 2017
Upon taking up my duties as Secretary-General in January of this year, my very first act was to issue an appeal for peace -- a call on citizens, governments and leaders everywhere to put peace first. CONTINUE
WORLD OCEAN DAY “OUR OCEAN, OUR FUTURE”
New York, 8 June 2017
The oceans make our home a blue planet. The oceans regulate climate, generate oxygen, and provide ecosystem services, energy and minerals. The life teeming below their surfaces and along the shorelines is a source of food and medicines. Oceans connect all of us, linking people and nations in cultural ties, and they are essential for sharing goods and services across the world. The importance of our oceans to every single living being on our planet cannot be overstated. Today, we celebrate all that the oceans give us, and reaffirm our commitment to being good stewards. CONTINUE
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS “Investing in Peace Around the World”
New York, 29 May 2017
For nearly 70 years, UN peacekeeping has proven to be one of the international community’s most effective investments in peace, security and prosperity. Demand for UN peacekeepers has risen steadily over the years, and deployment is now near an all-time high. Peacekeeping has had a positive impact on the lives of millions of people around the world. CONTINUE