By Frederick H. Lowe
The United Nations on Monday unveiled a statue honoring the late Nelson Mandela, a freedom fighter, diplomat, inspirational figure, and South Africa’s first black president, the day before the General Assembly begins its Peace Summit, where world leaders will meet to discuss a long list of world problems.
The statue, located in front of the U.N. building, honors Mandela because of his struggles against racial injustice.
Titled The Nelson Mandela 2018 Peace Summit, the meeting encouraged NGO (non-government organizations) to work together before the General Assembly meets. The General Assembly is one of the six main organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member states have equal representation: one nation, one vote.
The statue’s arms are raised in the air as if Mandela is greeting the delegates attending the 73rd summit of the General Assembly. World leaders will address the planet’s pressing problems, including war, poverty, disease, migration and climate change.
Mandela was first welcomed to New York City in 1990, a few months after he was released from a South African prison, ending 27 years of imprisonment under the country’s white-minority government.
“South Africa will be free,” Mandela said during that visit. His death in 2013 at age 95 brought a global outpouring of grief and tributes. Mr. Mandela would have celebrated his 100th birthday on July 18.
In 2007, the Houses of Parliament in London unveiled a statue honoring Mr. Mandela. Statues honoring Mr. Mandela also have been unveiled in Palestine, South Africa and Washington D.C.