Thursday, July 18, 2013

Civics Education: Mandela International Day

"Nelson Mandela’s achievements came at great personal cost to himself and his family. His sacrifice not only served the people of his own nation, South Africa, but made the world a better place for all people, everywhere… He showed the way. He changed the world."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Today is Mandela International Day. Every year, on Mandela Day, people around the world are asked by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.

18 July 2013 – The United Nations today marks Nelson Mandela International Day, celebrating the South African leader’s 95th birthday and honoring his dedication to public service, social justice and reconciliation, inspiring millions around the world.

In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July "Nelson Mandela International Day" in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”
By devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mr. Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.
UN staff around the world have made a difference through a variety of activities in the past – from offering school supplies to children, to preparing meals for the elderly, helping out in an orphanage, cleaning up parks, and delivering computer literacy workshops.

“The heart of Nelson Mandela International Day is good works for people and the planet. Its theme…is meant to mobilize the human family to do more to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world,” (...) . “This is the best tribute we can pay to an extraordinary man who embodies the highest values of humanity.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Students are enjoying summer holidays. But "Mandela Day" is every day. So, when they return in August/ September, teachers can invite the students to take action and inspire change by celebrating a "Mandela Day at school". 

Ask your students to make small gestures of solidarity with humanity by spending 67 minutes in a week. Introduce Civics activities in a cross-curricular plan.

Some activities:
  • Make a new friend. Get to know someone in the school from a different cultural background and through mutual understanding rid intolerance and xenofobia.
  • Read to someone who can't. Visit a local home for old people or for blind people and open up a new world for someone else.
  • Help someone at the supermarket, on the street or someone who is a bit lost in the city or can't find the right bus, for example.
  • Visit an hospital and speak to ill people or ill children. Take a little time to have a chat and bring some sunshine into their lives.
  • Grab blankets that you no longer need from home and give them to homeless people.
  • Help out at a local animal shelter. Dogs and cats without homes still need a walk or a bit of love.
  • Make a Peace concert at school by writing some lyrics about peace, social inclusion and adjusting to a tune that students love. Invite the local community to listen it.
  • Deliver computer literacy workshops to older people in school (grandparents, neighbours,  community).
Literacy is probably the most important skill for an individual to acquire and develop. An empowerment tool that gives access to further education and new opportunities. 
ICT skills complete the education of all in our days. 

However, humanity is the most important value.

Google doodle 2014
doodler : Kate Wu

In July 18, 2014, Google is celebrating the anniversary of #Mandela’s birth with an interactive Doodle. Starting with an illustration of the former leader, visitors can click through a number of his most well-known quotes, coupled with illustrations depicting stages of his 'Long Walk to Freedom'.

We could not miss it ! Please think on this subject to make the difference at your school.

"We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference"

Nelson Mandela


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Update : Google doodle, 18 July 2014

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