As part of its expanding work in the area of human rights, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences, home to the new Institute for Human Rights, is encouraging its students, faculty, staff and the greater UAB community to participate in Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18.
Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009, the day recognizes the former South African president’s contribution to global efforts in establishing peace and freedom for all people. Every year on July 18, the U.N. joins The Nelson Mandela Foundation in asking people to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others. The number of minutes corresponds to the number of years Mandela worked in human rights, as an attorney, a political prisoner, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
According to the U.N. website for Nelson Mandela International Day, “General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality, and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.”
The College of Arts and Sciences has every expectation of becoming a leader in the arena of human rights, says College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert E. Palazzo, Ph.D.
“As we begin to grow our efforts, anchored by the new Institute for Human Rights, we ask our students, staff and faculty to honor the legacy of Nelson Mandela by dedicating time to serve people in our community,” Palazzo said. “We already have a deeply ingrained culture of service and outreach at UAB, and formalizing our assistance of others in this way underscores our values and our voice in the global conversation on human rights.”
Participants are encouraged to share their service efforts on the College of Arts and Sciences Facebook page. For UAB’s commemoration of Mandela Day, the UAB Multicultural and Diversity Programs will show a free screening of the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” at 6:30 p.m. in Heritage Hall, 1401 University Blvd. Food and drinks will be provided.