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Z. Mandela: A Global Movement for Good

UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 18, 2010

Published in Dialogue & Alliance, Spring/Summer 2010 issue

I would like to thank you for the opportunity of sharing this platform with you as a global citizen who strives to create a healthy environment in the present and for the future of my children and grandchildren.

On February 11, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of my father's release from prison. When my father was offered conditional release in 1985 [in return for renouncing the armed struggle], he refused it. I read to the public his message: "Only free men can negotiate.... I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free.”

My father was imprisoned when I was only 18 months old. I supported the stance he took not only because he was my parent but because he was my leader. I want to take this opportunity to honor my mother, Winnie Mandela, for the role she played in making sure my father was not forgotten.

Multilateral organizations have too often become tools for the rich and powerful. We must return to the belief on which the UN was founded, that conflicts should be settled through peaceful means and multilateral cooperation.

In 2009, a United Nations Resolution established a Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18, his birthday, to honor his role in peacemaking. It is to be commemorated every year, beginning this year.

It is not about creating institutions with huge infrastructure, but a global movement for good which recognizes that positive change begins with small actions. My father reminds us that “it’s in our hands” to create a better world.  We take inspiration from his example to take responsibility for ourselves and to understand our responsibility to others.

Nelson Mandela spent 67 years of his life actively devoted to promoting and bringing about social change. On Mandela Day the Nelson Mandela Foundation asks individuals to symbolically give at least 67 minutes of their time in service to their communities in whichever way they choose.

We urge people to ensure that they observe Mandela Day every day – contributing to the global movement for good – and not only on July 18.

For additional information, see the Nelson Mandela Foundation website.