Skip to Content
December 10, 2013

Let’s Live Mandela

In 1950, the United Nations proclaimed December 10th as International Human Rights Day to bring public attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

On this Human Rights Day, it is fitting that the world’s attention is focused on the state funeral of Nelson Mandela.  As we reflect on his life, there is something about his moral compass that speaks deeply to our human condition.  And in an era where humanity can seem more divided than united, it is truly inspiring to witness the global outpouring of recognition and appreciation for a life lived in dedication to a better world – a world where we can all live equally, in dignity and in peace.

I had the opportunity to meet with Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday during a meeting of The Elders, which is still supported by Humanity United.  It is a meeting I will never forget.  I was struck by the simple kindness and humility of this fine man.  Surely these are traits we can all strive for in our lives.

Perhaps the most enduring legacy Mandela leaves us is the challenge that in our lives we must be ever vigilant of the role we play, individually and collectively, in creating a better world for all of us.  I am mindful of this challenge in the work we undertake here at Humanity United towards Pierre and Pam Omidyar’s vision of a world free of conflict and injustice.  I am also so very appreciative of the dedicated staff at Humanity United, as well as our partners, who work each day to build peace, promote justice, and advance human freedom in the areas of the globe where these ideals are challenged most.

These people live Mandela.

As we continue to work towards a world that respects the rights of all human beings, it is also important today to recognize the twenty-year anniversary of the Declaration and Plan of Action from the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, which created the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and continues today to guide so much of the work of the human rights community.  We have come a long way in twenty years, but as we consider these achievements, we must heed the vision and continue the work begun by Nelson Mandela so many years ago.

On this Human Rights Day, we pause to reflect on his life and the common spirit he inspired.

In the days ahead, let’s live Mandela.

Photo by Library of the London School of Economics and Political Science (Nelson Mandela, 2000  Uploaded by Fæ) [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

We use cookies for anonymous analytics collection in order to improve this site for you. By clicking on ‘Allow’ or on any content on this site, you agree that cookies can be placed. For details, view our privacy policy.