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July 18: Mandela Day

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July 18 marks the birthday of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and former South African President. In 2009, in honor of his birthday, the United Nations declared July 18 Nelson Mandela International Day. This day is meant to inspire people to take action to change the world for the better.

Throughout his 67-year career, Mandela has worked tirelessly to promote a global movement for justice and freedom for all. His work spans conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children, the poor and underdeveloped communities. In acknowledgment of his contribution to promoting peace worldwide, Mandela Day invites individuals and communities to give 67 minutes of time to do a good deed for others.

“Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class, caste, or any other social markers of difference. Religion, ethnicity, language, social and cultural practices are elements which enrich human civilization, adding to the wealth of our diversity. Why should they be allowed to become a cause of division, and violence? We demean our common humanity by allowing that to happen.” — Nelson Mandela, New Delhi, India, January 2004

Mandela Day invites you to give some time to a a cause you support, or to make a difference in someone’s life. If you and your organization are having trouble thinking of ideas, the website has a list of 67 ways to get involved. You can also add your activity to the list of featured activities and read about other activities and events happening around the world.

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